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How St. Francis laid upon Friar Masseo the service of the gate, of alms-giving and of the kitchen; and thereafter, at the prayer of the other friars, relieved him of them

ST. FRANCIS, desiring to humble Friar Masseo, to the end that he might not become puffed up by reason of the many gifts and graces which God was giving him, but by virtue of humility might increase thereby from virtue to virtue; once when he was dwelling in a solitary place with those true saints, his first companions, among whom was the said Friar Masseo, he spake on a day to Friar Masseo before all his

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companions, saying: "O Friar Masseo, all these thy companions have the grace of contemplation and of prayer; but thou hast the grace of preaching the Word of God to the satisfying of the people; and therefore, to the end that these thy companions may be able to give themselves to contemplation, I will that thou perform the office of the gate and of alms-giving and of the kitchen; and when the other friars shall eat thou shalt cat without the gate of the Place, so that thou mayest satisfy those who come to the Place with some good works of God or ever they have knocked; thus it will not be necessary for any other to go forth save thee alone; and this do thou for the merit of holy obedience". Thereupon, Friar Masseo drew back his cowl and bowed his head and humbly received this obedience and persevered therein for many days, performing the office of the gate, of almsgiving and of the kitchen. Wherefore his companions, as men illuminated of God, began to feel great remorse in their hearts, considering that Friar Masseo was a man of great perfection even as they or more so, and upon him was laid all the burthen of the Place and not on them. For which cause they were all moved with one desire and went to beseech the holy father that he would be pleased to distribute among them those offices; inasmuch as their consciences might in no wise bear that Friar Masseo should endure so great labour. Hearing this St. Francis inclined his ear unto their counsels and consented unto their wish. Calling Friar Masseo he spake to him after this manner: "Friar Masseo, thy companions desire to share the offices which I have given thee; and therefore I will that they be divided among them." Said Friar Masseo, with great humility and patience: "Father, that which thou layest upon me, whether in whole or in part, I esteem it altogether

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done of God". Then St. Francis, beholding the charity of those others and the humility of Friar Masseo, preached unto them a marvellous sermon touching most holy humility; teaching them that the greater the gifts and graces which God bestows upon us, the greater should our humility be; because without humility no virtue is acceptable to God. And whey: he had finished preaching, he distributed the offices with very great love.

Next: Chapter XIII. How St. Francis and Friar Masseo placed the bread which they had begged upon a stone . . .