The Life of Blessed Francis - 599 

he dedicated to the Lord a special fast of forty days.
The poor man of Christ
had nothing other than two small coins,
namely his body and his soul,
which he could give away in generous charity.
But for the love of Christ
he offered them so continuously
that he seemed to be constantly immolating
his body through the rigor of fasting,
and his spirit through the ardor of his desire,
without, sacrificing a holocaust in the courtyard,
and within, burning incense in the temple.a

4The exceptional devotion of his charity
so bore him aloft into the divine
that his loving kindness was enlarged
and extended to those who shared with him nature and grace.
Since the piety of his heart had made him
a brother to other creatures,

no wonder the charity of Christ 2 Cor 5:14
made him

even more a brother to those who are marked
in the image of their Creator

and redeemed with the blood Rv 5:9 of their Author!

For he would not consider himself a friend of Christ, unless he cared for the souls whom He had redeemed. He used to say that nothing should be preferred to the salvation of souls, demonstrating this forcefully with the fact that the Only-begotten Son of God saw fit to hang on the cross for the sake of souls.

From this arose
his effort in prayer,

his travel in preaching,
and his excess in giving example.

Therefore, whenever somebody criticized him for the excessive austerity of his life, he would reply that he was given as an exam-




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 855-856

quadragesimae specialis ieiunium Domino dedicabat.
7Non habebat aliud Christi pauper
nisi duo minuta,
corpus scilicet et animam,
quae posset liberali caritate largiri.
8Sed haec per amorem Christi
sic offerebat continue,
ut quasi omni tempore
per rigorem ieiunii corpus
et per ardorem desiderii spiritum immolaret,
exterius in atrio sacrificans holocaustum
et in templo interius concremans thymiama.

4 1Sic autem eum caritatis excessiva devotio
sursum in divina ferebat,
ut eiusdem affectuosa benignitas
ad naturae consortes et gratiae dilataret.
2Quem enim creaturis ceteris
germanum pietas cordis effecerat,
mirum non est,
si Creatoris insignitis
imagine et sanguine redemptis Auctoris
germaniorem Christi caritas faciebat.

3Non se Christi reputabat amicum, nisi animas foveret, quas ille redemit. 4Saluti animarum nihil praeferendum esse dicebat, eo maxime probans, quod Unigenitus Dei pro animabus dignatus fuerit in cruce pendere.

5Hinc sibi
in oratione luctamen,
in praedicatione discursus
et in exemplis dandis excessus.

6Unde quoties austeritas nimia reprehenderetur in ipso, respondebat, se datum aliis in exemplum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 599