The Life of Blessed Francis - 569 

Chapter Six


the guardian and embellishment of all the virtues,
had filled the man
of God with abundance.
In his own opinion
he was nothing but a sinner,
though in truth he was a mirror
and the splendor of every kind of holiness.
As he had learned from Christ,
he strove to build himself upon this
like a wise architect laying a foundation.a
He used to say that it was for this reason
that the Son of God came down
from the height of his Father's bosom
to our lowly estate
so that our Lord and Teacher might teach humility
in both example and word.

Therefore as Christ's disciple, he strove to regard himself as worthless in his own eyes and those of others, recalling what had been said by his supreme Teacher: What is highly esteemed among mortals is an abomination before God. He used to make this statement frequently: "What a person is before God, that he is and no more." Therefore, judging that it was foolish to be elated by worldly favors, he rejoiced in insults and was saddened by praise. If nothing else, he would rather hear himself blamed than praised, knowing that the former would lead him to change his life, while the latter would push him to a fall. And so frequently when people extolled the merits of his holiness, he commanded one of the brothers to impress upon his ears words that were, on the contrary, insulting. When the




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 822-823

Caput VI

De humilitate et obedientia et
de condescensionibus divinis sibi factis ad nutum.

1 1Omnium virtutum custos et decor
copiosa virum Dei ubertate repleverat.
2In propria quidem reputatione
nihil erat nisi peccator,
cum in veritate speculum esset
et splendor omnimodae sanctitatis.
3Super hanc studuit aedificare se ipsum,
ut sapiens architectus fundamentum praeiaciens,
quod a Christo didicerat.
4Dicebat, propter hoc
Filium Dei
de altitudine sinus paterni
ad nostra despicabilia descendisse,
ut tam exemplo quam verbo
Dominus et Magister humilitatem doceret.

5Propter quod studebat tamquam Christi discipulus in oculis suis et aliorum vilescere, a summo dictum esse Magistro commemorans: Quod altum est apud homines, abominatio est apud Deum. 6Sed et verbum hoc dicere solitus erat: « Quantum homo est in oculis Dei, tantum est et non plus ». 7Stultum proinde iudicans mundanis extolli favoribus, gaudebat de opprobriis et de laudibus tristabatur. 8Malebat quidem de se vituperium audire quam laudem, sciens, quod hoc ad se emendandum induceret, illa impelleret ad cadendum. 9Et ideo saepe cum populi merita in eo sanctitatis extollerent, praecipiebat alicui fratri, ut in contrarium verba ipsum vilificantia suis auribus inculcando proferret. 10Cumque frater ille,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 569