The Life of Blessed Francis - 556 

satisfied with uncooked food such as herbs, vegetables, and fruit; and for many years, never tasted bread or wine, yet remained strong and in good health.

9 As the merits of the virtues increased in Christ's little poor,
the fragrance of a good reputation spread everywhere
and attracted a great number of people
from different parts of the world
to come and see our holy father.

Among them was a certain refined composer of worldly songs, who, because of this, had been crowned by the Emperor and was, therefore, called the "King of Verses." He decided to visit the man of God, who despised the things of the world. When he found him preaching in a monastery in the village of San Severino, the hand of the Lord came upon him. Ez 1:3 He saw Francis, the preacher of Christ's cross, marked with two bright shining swords intersecting in the shape of a cross. One of them stretched from his head to his feet, and the other across his chest from one hand to the other. He did not know Christ's servant by sight, but once he had been pointed out by such a miracle, he recognized him immediately. Stunned at once by what he saw, he began to resolve to do better. He was struck in his conscience by the power of his words, as if pierced by a spiritual sword coming from his mouth. He completely despised his worldly displays and joined the blessed father by profession. When the holy man saw that he had been completely converted from the restlessness of the world to the peace of Christ, he called him Brother Pacifico. Afterwards this man advanced in holiness; and, before he went to France as provincial minister—indeed he was the first to hold that office there, he merited again to see a great Tau on Francis's forehead, which displayed a variety of different colors that caused his face to glow with wonderful beauty.

The holy man venerated this symbol with great affection,
often spoke of it with eloquence,
and signed it with his own hand in the letters he sent,
as if his whole desire were,
according to the prophetic text,
to mark with a Tau
the foreheads of those moaning and grieving,
of those truly converted to Jesus Christ.

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 809-810


6et crudis dumtaxat cibariis, herbis videlicet, leguminibus fructibusque contentus, per plura temporum lustra nec panem gustaret nec vinum, fortis tamen et incolumis perseverans.

9 1Crescentibus quoque virtutum meritis in parvulis Christi,
odor opinionis bonae circumquaque diffusus
ad praesentiam sancti patris videndam
plurimos e diversis mundi partibus attrahebat.

2Inter quos quidam saecularium cantionum curiosus inventor, qui ab Imperatore propter hoc fuerat coronatus et inde Rex versuum dictus, virum Dei contemptorem mundialium adire proposuit. 3Cumque apud castrum Sancti Severini eum praedicantem reperisset in monasterio quodam, facta manu Domini super se, vidit eumdem crucis Christi praedicatorem Franciscum duobus transversis ensibus valde fulgentibus in modum crucis signatum, quorum unus a capite ad pedes, alius a manu in manum per pectus transversaliter tendebatur. 4Non noverat facie servum Christi, sed tanto monstratum miraculo mox agnovit. 5Subito stupefactus ad visum, incipit meliora proponere, tandemque verborum ipsius compuctus virtute, tamquam si esset gladio spiritus ex eius ore procedente transfixus, saecularibus pompis omnino contemptis, beato patri professione cohaesit. 6Propter quod videns ipsum vir sanctus ab inquietudine saeculi ad Christi pacem perfecte conversum, fratrem Pacificum appellavit. 7Hic postmodum in omni sanctitate proficiens, antequam fieret Minister in Francia siquidem primus ibidem ministerii gessit officium meruit iterato magnum Thau in fronte Francisci videre, quod colorum varietate distinctum, faciem ipsius miro venustabat ornatu.

8Hoc quippe signum vir sanctus magno venerabatur affectu,
frequenti commendabat eloquio
9et in eis quas dirigebat litterulis manu propria subscribebat,
tamquam si omne ipsius studium foret
signare Tau, iuxta dictum propheticum
super frontes virorum gementium et dolentium,
ad Christum Iesum veraciter conversorum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 556