The Life of Blessed Francis - 562 

One night, contrary to his accustomed manner, he had allowed a feather pillow to be placed under his head because of an illness in his head and eyes. The devil got into it, gave him no rest until the hours of matins, and in many ways disturbed him from the fervor of holy prayer, until, after he had called a companion, he had him take the pillow with the devil far away out of his cell. But when the brother went out of the cell with the pillow, he lost the strength and use of his limbs, until at the voice of the holy father, who was aware of this in spirit, his former strength of heart and body was fully restored to him.

3 Unbending in discipline he stood upon his guard, Is 21:8 taking the greatest care to preserve purity of both soul and body.a Near the beginning of his conversion, in wintertime he would frequently immerse himself in a ditch filled with icy water in order to perfectly subjugate the enemy within and preserve the white robe of modesty from the flames of voluptuousness. He used to say that it should be incomparably more tolerable for a spiritual man to endure great cold in his flesh rather than to feel even slightly the heat of carnal lust in his heart.

4 One night while he gave himself to prayer in a cell at the hermitage of Sarteano, the ancient enemy called him three times: "Francis, Francis, Francis!" When he replied to him, he asked what he wanted. And that one continued deceitfully: "There is no sinner in the world whom God will not forgive if he is converted. But if anyone kills himself by hard penance, he will find no mercy for all eternity." At once by a revelation, the man of God recognized the enemy's treachery, how he was trying to call him back to being lukewarm. This was surely shown by what followed. For immediately after this, at the whim of him whose breath sets coals afire, a serious temptation of the flesh seized him. When that lover of chastity felt it coming, after he took off his clothes, he began to lash himself very strenuously with a cord, saying: "Come on, Brother Ass, that's the way you should stay under the whip! The tunic has given up on

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 815-816


5Unde cum nocte quadam propter infirmitatem capitis et oculorum, praeter solitum morem cervical de pluma positum haberet ad caput, daemon in illud ingressus, ipsum usque ad horam matutinalem inquietatum multimode a sanctae orationis studio perturbavit, donec, vocato socio, pulvinar cum daemonio fecit extra cellulam longius exportari. 6Egressus autem cum pulvinari frater de cella, membrorum omnium vires amisit et usum, quousque ad vocem sancti patris hoc cognoscentis in spiritu, vigor pristinus cordis et corporis sibi fuit plenarie restitutus.

3 1Rigidus in disciplina super custodiam suam stabat, curam permaximam gerens de utriusque hominis puritate servanda; 2quapropter circa conversionis suae primordia tempore hiemali in foveam glacie plenam se ipsum plerumque mergebat, ut et domesticum sibi hostem perfecte subigeret et candidum vestimentum pudoris a voluptatis incendio praeservaret. 3Tolerabilius viro spirituali fore incomparabiliter asserebat magnum sustinere frigus in carne, quam ardorem carnalis libidinis vel modicum sentire in mente.

4 1Cum autem apud eremum de Sartiano nocte quadam orationi vacaret in cellula, vocavit eum hostis antiquus, tertio dicens: « Francisce, Francisce, Francisce! ». 2Cui cum, quid quaereret, respondisset, fallaciter ille subiunxit: « Nullus est in mundo peccator, cui, si conversus fuerit, non indulgeat Deus; sed quicumque semetipsum poenitentia dura necaverit, misericordiam non inveniet in aeternum. 3Statim vir Dei per revelationem cognovit hostis fallaciam, quomodo nisus fuerit eum ad tepida revocare. 4Nam hoc sequens indicavit eventus. 5Continuo enim post hoc ad insuffiationem illius, cuius halitus prunas ardere facit, gravis ipsum carnis tentatio apprehendit. 6Quam ut praesensit castitatis amator, deposita veste, chorda coepit se verberare fortissime: « Eia », inquiens, « frater asine, sic te decet manere, sic subire flagellum. 7Tunica religioni deservit,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 562