The Life of Blessed Francis - 531 

empty-handed a poor man who had begged alms for the love of God. Immediately turning back to his heart, he ran after him, and, gently with extravagant alms, he promised God that from that moment, while he had the means, he would not refuse those who begged from him for the love of God. He observed this with untiring piety until his death and merited an abundant increase of grace and love for God.a For afterwards, when he had perfectly put on Christ, Gal 3:27 he would say that even while he was in secular attire, he could scarcely ever hear any mention of the divine love without being deeply moved in his heart.

At the same time, the sensitivity of his gentleness, together with a refined set of manners, a patience and affability beyond human decorum, and a generosity beyond his means singled him out as a young man of flourishing natural disposition. This seemed to be a prelude to the even greater abundance of God's blessings that would be showered on him in the future. Indeed a certain exceptionally simple man of Assisi, whom, it is believed, God had instructed, whenever he chanced to meet Francis going through the city, used to take off his cloak and spread the garment under his feet, claiming that Francis was worthy of reverence, since he was destined to do great things in the near future and would be magnificently honored by the entire body of the faithful.b

2 However, up to this time, Francis was ignorant of God's counsel for him. For this reason, drawn in several directions to the external by the demand of his father as well as forced down to the inferior by the corruption of his natural origin,c he had not yet learned how to contemplate the celestial nor had he become accustomed to savor the divine.

And because affliction can enlighten spiritual awareness, Ez 1:3
the hand of the Lord was upon him,
and a change of the right hand of the Most High, Ps 76:11 [Vulgate, Ps 75:11]

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Fontes Franciscani, p. 781-782


statim ad cor reversus, cucurrit post ipsum, et eleemosyna illi clementer impensa, promisit Domino Deo, quod numquam ex tunc, dum adesset possibilitas, petentibus pro amore Domini se negaret; 5quod usque ad mortem indefessa pietate observans, copiosa in Deum dilectionis et gratiae, incrementa promeruit. 6Aiebat enim post, cum iam perfecte Christum induerat, quod etiam exsistens in habitu saeculari, vocem divini expressivam amoris audire vix umquam sine cordis immutatione valebat.

7Porro mansuetudinis lenitas cum elegantia morum, patientia et tractabilitas supra humanum modum, munificentiae largitas ultra suppetentiam facultatum, quibus bonae indolis adolescens certis florere conspiciebatur indiciis, 8quaedam videbantur esse praeludia, quod copiosior super eum foret in posterum divinae benedictionis abundantia diffundenda. 9Quidam sane vir de Assisio valde simplex, ut creditur, eruditus a Deo, cum aliquando per civitatem eunti obviaret Francisco, deponebat pallium, 10sternebat ipsius pedibus vestimentum, asserens omni fore Franciscum reverentia dignum, utpote qui esset in proximo magna facturus et ob hoc ab universitate fidelium magnifice honorandus.

2 1Ignorabat autem adhuc Franciscus circa se consilium Dei, pro eo quod, tam iussione patris ad exteriora distractus quam corruptione naturalis originis ad inferiora depressus, nondum didicerat contemplari caelestia nec assueverat degustare divina.

2Et quia spirituali auditui dat intellectum inflicta vexatio,
facta est super eum manus Domini
et immutatio dexterae Excelsi,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 531