The Life of Blessed Francis - 575 

obedient man hurried to carry out his father's orders and, caught up in praise before the face of the Lord, he began to cry out boldly in front of the city gate: "On behalf of Almighty God and by the command of his servant Francis, get away from here, all you demons." At once the city returned to peace and all the citizens reformed their civil law with great tranquility.

Once the raging pride of the demons,
which had surrounded the city like a siege,
had been driven out,
as the wisdom of a poor man entered in,
that is, the humility of Francis,
it brought back peace and saved the city.
For by his lofty virtue of humble obedience,
he had gained such powerful control
over those rebellious and obstinate spirits
that he could repress their ferocious brashness
and drive back their savage violence.

10 The proud demons flee from the lofty virtues of the humble,
unless occasionally the divine goodness allows them
to be buffeted to protect their humility, 2 Cor 12:7
as the Apostle Paul writes about himself,
and as Francis learned through experience.

On one occasion he was invited by Lord Leo, the Cardinal of Santa Croce, to stay with him for a little while in the City, and he humbly accepted out of respect and affection. The first night, when he wanted to rest after his prayer, demons came upon the soldier of Christ, attacking him fiercely. After they beat him long and hard, they finally left him half-dead. Lk 10:30 When they left, the companion he had called came. The man of God told him what had happened, adding: "Brother, I believe that the devils can do nothing, unless God's providence allows it. Therefore, they have now attacked me fiercely in this way, because my staying at the court of the great doesn't offer good example. My brothers, who stay in poor places, hearing that I am staying with cardinals, might suspect perhaps that I am involved in worldly affairs, puffed up by honors and living in luxury. Lk 7:25 And so, I think that one who is set up as an example is better off avoiding courts and living humbly among the humble in humble places, that he might bring about a strengthening of those who suffer want, by putting up with the same things." In the morning, then, they went to the cardinal, offered a humble excuse, and said good-bye.

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 830-831


4Accelerat verus obediens patris iussa perficere, et praeoccupans in laudibus faciem Domini, ante portam civitatis coepit clamare valenter: « Ex parte omnipotentis Dei et iussu servi eius Francisci procul hinc discedite, daemones universi! ». 5Redit ad pacem continuo civitas, et civilitatis in se iura cives omnes cum magna tranquillitate reformant.

6Expulsa quippe daemonum furibunda superbia,
quae civitatem illam velut obsidione
vallaverat,
superveniens sapientia pauperis,
videlicet Francisci humilitas,
pacem reddidit urbemque salvavit.
7Humilis enim obedientiae ardua promerente virtute,
super spiritus illos rebelles atque protervos
tam potestativum fuerat assecutus imperium,
ut et ipsorum feroces protervias premeret
et importunas violentias propulsaret.

10 1Fugiunt quidem superbi daemones excelsas virtutes humilium,
nisi cum interdum ad humilitatis custodiam
divina eos clementia colaphizari permittit,
sicut et Paulus Apostolus de se ipso scribit,
et Franciscus experimento probavit.

2Rogatus enim a domino Leone cardinali Sanctae Crucis, ut secum aliquantulum moraretur in Urbe, acquievit humiliter ob ipsius reverentiam et amorem. 3Prima igitur nocte, cum post orationem vellet quiescere, supervenerunt daemones in Christi militem atrociter insurgentes. 4Quem cum diu verberassent ac dure, ad ultimum quasi seminecem reliquerunt. 5Discedentibus illis, socius vocatus advenit, cui cum vir Dei rei narrasset eventum, subiungens ait: « Credo, frater, quod daemones, qui nihil possunt, nisi quantum providentia superna disponit, ideo in me nunc tam ferociter irruerunt, quia non bonam speciem praefert mansio mea in curia magnatorum. 6Fratres mei qui in locis pauperculis commorantur, audientes me cum cardinalibus esse, suspicabuntur forsitan implicari mundanis, efferri honoribus et deliciis abundare. 7Ideo melius iudico, eum qui ponitur in exemplum, fugere curias et humiliter inter humiles in locis conversari humilibus, ut sustinentes penuriam fortes efficiat similia sustinendo ». 8Veniunt ergo mane, et humili excusatione proposita, valefaciunt cardinali.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 575