The Life of Blessed Francis - 551 

the people or go off to solitary places. But Christ's servant Francis, putting his trust in neither his own efforts nor in theirs, sought the pleasure of the divine will in this matter by the fervor of prayer. Enlightened by a revelation from heaven, he realized that he was sent by the Lord to win for Christ the souls which the devil was trying to snatch away. Therefore he chose to live for everyone rather than for himself alone, drawn by the example of the one who deigned to die for all. 2 Cor 5:15

3The man of God then gathered with his companions in an abandoned hut near the city of Assisi, where they kept themselves alive according to the pattern of holy poverty in much labor and want, drawing their nourishment more from the bread of tears than of delights.

They spent their time there praying incessantly, directing their effort mentally rather than vocally to devoted prayers, because they did not yet have liturgical books from which to chant the canonical hours. In place of these they had the book of Christ's cross which they studied continually day and night, taught by the example and words of their father who spoke to them constantly about the cross of Christ.

When the brothers asked him to teach them to pray, he said: "When you pray, say ‘Our Father.. .' and ‘We adore you, O Christ, in all your churches throughout the whole world, and we bless you, for by your holy cross you have redeemed the world. Lk 11:2 ‘ " He also taught them to praise God in all and with all creatures,a to honor priests with a special reverence, and to believe with certainty and to confess with simplicity the truth of the faith, as the holy Roman Church holds and teaches. They observed the holy father's teaching in every detail, and prostrated themselves humbly before every church and crucifix which they were able to see from a distance, praying the formula he had taught them.

4 While the brothers were still staying in the place already mentioned, one Saturday the holy man entered the city of Assisi to preach in the cathedral on Sunday morning, as was his custom. In a hut situated in the garden of the canons, away from his sons in body,

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 804-805


Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 551