Francis in front of the bishop of Assisi

Vocations “come and follow me”

Francis in front of the bishop of Assisi

Legend of the Three Companions (L3C 19-20: FAED II, 79-80)

Realizing that he could accomplish nothing with the magistrates, Pietro di Bernardone made the same complaint before the bishop of the city. The bishop, a discerning and understanding man, duly called him to appear in order to respond to his father’s complaint. Francis answered the messenger: “I will appear before the lord bishop, because he is the father and lord of souls.”
Then he came before the bishop and was received by him with great joy. “Your father,” the bishop said to him, “is infuriated and extremely scandalized. If you wish to serve God, return to him the money you have, because God does not want you to spend money unjustly acquired on the work of the church. Your father’s anger will abate when he gets the money back. My son, have confidence in the Lord and act courageously. Do not be afraid, for He will be your help and will abundantly provide you with whatever is necessary for the work of his church.”
Then the man of God got up, joyful and comforted by the bishop’s words, and, as he brought the money to him, he said: “My Lord, I will gladly give back not only the money acquired from his things, but even all my clothes.” And going into one of the bishop’s rooms, he took off all his clothes, and, putting the money on top of them, came out naked before the bishop, his father, and all the bystanders, and said: “Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Until now I have called Pietro di Bernardone my father. But, because I have proposed to serve God, I return to him the money on account of which he was so upset, and also all the clothing which is his, wanting to say from now on: Our Father who are in heaven, and not, ‘My father, Pietro di Bernardone.’” At that moment, the man of God was found to be wearing under his colored clothes a hair shirt next to his skin.
Then his father, overcome with unbearable pain and anger, took the money and all the clothing. While he was carrying these home, those who were present at this spectacle were indignant at him, for he left nothing for his son to wear. Moved by piety, they began to weep over him.
The bishop, focusing his attention on the man of God’s frame of mind and enthusiastically admiring his fervor and determination, gathered him into his arms, covering him with his mantle.

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