The Life of Blessed Francis - 570 

brother, though unwilling, called him a boor and a mercenary, unskilled and useless, he would reply, exhilarated in mind and face: "May the Lord bless you, my beloved son, for it is you who are really telling the very truth and what the son of Peter Bernardone needs to hear."

2 In order to make himself looked down upon by others,
he did not spare himself the shame of bringing up his own faults
in his preaching before all the people.

Once it happened, because he was ill, he somewhat relaxed the rigor of his abstinence in order to recover his health. When his physical strength returned, the authentic scorner of himself was inspired to insult his own flesh. "It is not right," he said, "that people should believe I am abstaining while, in fact, I eat meat secretly." He got up, inflamed with the spirit of true humility, and after he had called the people together in the piazza of the city of Assisi, he solemnly entered the principal church with many of the brothers whom he had brought with him. He commanded that he be dragged before the eyes of all, with a cord tied around his neck and stripped to only his underwear, to the stone where criminals received their punishment. Climbing upon the stone, although he had a fever and was weak and the weather was bitter cold, he preached with much vigor and spirit. He asserted to all his hearers that he should not be honored as a spiritual man but rather he should be despised by all as a carnal man and a glutton. Therefore those who had gathered there were amazed at so great a spectacle. They were well aware of his austerity, and so their hearts were struck with compunction; but they professed that his humility was easier to admire than to imitate. Although this incident seemed to be more a portent like that of a prophetic utterance than an example, nevertheless it was a lesson in true humility instructing the follower of Christ that he must condemn the fame of transitory praise, suppress the arrogance of bloated bragging, and reject the lies of deceptive pretense.

3 He more often did many things in this way,
that outwardly he would become like a discarded utensil
while inwardly he would possess the spirit of holiness.

He strove to hide the good things of his Lord in the secrecy of his heart, not wanting to display for his own glory what could be the cause of ruin. For often, when many were calling him blessed, he would utter words of this sort: "Don't praise me as if I were safe! I




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 823-825

10Cumque frater ille, licet invitus, eum rusticum et mercenarium, imperitum et inutilem diceret, exhilaratus tam mente quam facie respondebat: 11« Benedicat tibi Dominus, fili carissime, quia tu verissima loqueris, et talia filium Petri Bernardonis decet audire ».

2 1Ut autem se caeteris despicabilem redderet,
non parcebat rubori, quin in praedicatione coram,
omni populo proprios manifestaret defectus.

2Accidit semel, ut infirmitate gravatus, rigorem abstinentiae pro recuperanda sanitate modicum relaxasset. 3Viribus autem corporis utcumque resumptis, verus sui contemptor ad propriae carnis animatus opprobrium: « Non est », inquit, « conveniens, ut populus abstinentem me credat, et ego e contrario carnaliter reficiar in occulto ». 4Surrexit propterea sanctae humilitatis spiritu inflammatus, et in platea civitatis Assisii populo convocato, solemniter cum fratribus multis, quos secum adduxerat, maiorem introivit ecclesiam, funeque ad collum ligato, nudum cum femoralibus solis in oculis omnium se trahi praecepit usque ad lapidem, in quo malefactores puniendi consueverant collocari. 5Super quem conscendens, licet quartanarius esset et debilis, acerbi frigoris tempore cum multo vigore animi praedicavit, audientibusque cunctis asseruit, se non tamquam spiritualem honorandum fore, quin immo tamquam carnalem et glutonem ab omnibus contemnendum. 6Igitur qui convenerant, tam ingenti viso spectaculo, admirati sunt, et quia ipsius austeritatem iam noverant, devoto corde compuncti, humilitatem huiusmodi magis admirabilem quam imitabilem proclamabant. 7Licet autem id magis videatur portentum fuisse instar prophetalis vaticinii quam exemplum, tamen vere documentum exstitit humilitatis perfectae, 8quo Christi sectator instruitur transitoriae laudis praeconium debere contemnere, tumentis quoque iactantiae comprimere fastum et fraudulentae simulationis mendacium confutare.

3 1Multa quidem in hunc modum saepius faciebat,
ut exterius tamquam vas perditum fieret
et sanctificationis spiritum interius possideret.

2Studebat bona Domini sui arcano pectoris condere, nolens patere gloriae quod posset occasio esse ruinae. 3Nam saepe cum beatificaretur a pluribus, verbum huiuscemodi proferebat: « Filios et filias adhuc habere possem, nolite laudare securum! 4Nemo laudandus, cuius incertus est exitus ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 570