Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/283

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263
THE FRANCISCANS.

the dead; nor in learning and knowledge of all things; nor in eloquence to convert the world, but in bearing all ills and injuries and injustice and despiteful treatment with patience and humility." So far from valuing himself on his virtues, he humbly confesses that he had himself not lived up to the Rule, and apologizes for it through his infirmity and ignorance. To what extravagant lengths his disciples carried this striving for humility is shown by Giacomo Benedettone, better known as Jacopone da Todi, the author of the Stabat Mater, an active and successful lawyer, who, crushed by the death of a lovely wife, entered the Order, and for ten years feigned idiocy in order to revel in the abuse and ill-treatment that were showered upon him.[1]

Obedience was taught and enforced to the utter renunciation of the will, and many are the stories related to show how completely the earlier disciples subjected themselves to each other and to their superiors. When, in 1224, the Franciscans were first sent to England, Gregory, the Provincial Minister of France, asked Friar William of Esseby if he wished to go. William replied that he did not know whether he wished it or not, because his will was not his own, but the minister's, and therefore he wished whatever the minister wished him to wish. Somewhat similar is a story told of two brethren of Salzburg in 1222. This blindness of obedience produced a discipline in the Order which increased incalculably its importance to the Church when it grew to be an instrument in the hands of the papacy. St. Francis was especially emphatic in urging upon the brethren the most implicit devotion to Rome, and the Franciscans became an army which played in the thirteenth century the part filled by the Jesuits in the sixteenth.[2]

It was no part of Francis's design that the friars should live by idle mendicancy, and we have seen that the Rule expresses the obligation to labor. This was obeyed by the stricter members. Thus his third disciple, the blessed Giles, earned his subsistence by the rudest work, such as that of carrying wood, and he always


  1. S. Francis, de Perfecta Laetitia; Ejusd. Epistt. xi., xv.— Waddingi Annal. ann. 1298, No. 24-40.— Cantu, Eretici d'ltalia, I. 128.
  2. Lib. Conform. Lib. i. Fruct. 8, fol. 47.— Thorn, de Eccleston Collat. i.— Frat. Jordani Chron. c. 27 (Analecta Franciscana I. 10). — S. Francis. Collat. Monasticae, Collat. 20.