The Life of Blessed Francis - 600 

ple. For although his innocent flesh, which was already submitting freely to the spirit, had no need of the whip because of any offense, he still renewed its punishment and burdens because of example, staying on the hard paths only for the sake of others. For he used to say: "If I speak in the tongues of men and angels, but without charity and do not show examples of the virtues to my neighbors, it is little use to others, nothing to myself."

5In the fervent fire of his charity
he strove to emulate
the glorious triumph of the holy martyrs
in whom
the flame of love could not be extinguished,
nor courage weakened.
Set on fire, therefore,
by that perfect charity which drives out fear, 1 Jn 4:18
he desired to offer to the Lord
his own life as a living sacrifice Rom 12:1 in the flames of martyrdom
so that he might repay Christ, who died for us,
and inspire others to divine love.

In the sixth year of his conversion, burning with the desire for martyrdom,a he decided to take a ship to the region of Syria in order to preach the Christian faith and penance to the Saracens and other non-believers. When he had boarded a ship to go there, he was driven by contrary winds to land on the shores of Slavonia.b He spent a little while there and could not find a ship that would cross the sea at that time. Feeling that he had been cheated of his desire, he begged some sailors going to Ancona to take him with them for the love of God. When they stubbornly refused because he could not pay them, the man of God, completely trusting the Lord's goodness, secretly boarded the ship with his companion. A man arrived, sent by God for his poor man, as it is believed, who brought with him the food needed. He called over a person from the ship, a God-fearing man, and spoke to him in this way: "Keep all these things faithfully for the poor brothers hiding on your ship and distribute them in a friendly fashion in their time of need." And it so




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 857-858

7Licet enim innocens eius caro, quae iam se sponte subdebat spiritui, nullo propter offensas egeret flagello, tamen exempli causa renovabat illi poenas et onera, custodiens propter alios vias duras. 8Dicebat enim: « Si linguis hominum loquar et Angelorum, caritatem autem in me ipso non habeam et proximis virtutum exempla non monstrem, parum prosum aliis, mihi nihil ».

5 1Ferventi quoque caritatis incendio
gloriosum sanctorum Martyrum
aemulabatur triumphum,
in quibus
nec amoris flamma exstingui,
nec fortitudo potuit infirmari.
2Desiderabat propterea et ipse,
fila perfecta caritate succensus, quae foras mittit timorem,
per martyrii flammam hostiam
Domino se offerre viventem,
ut et vicem Christo pro nobis morienti rependeret
et ad divinum amorem ceteros provocaret.

3Sexto namque conversionis suae anno, desiderio martyrii flagrans, ad praedicandam fidem christianam et poenitentiam Saracenis et aliis infidelibus ad partes Syriae transfretare disposuit. 4Cumque navem quamdam, ut illuc tenderet, conscendisset, ventis contrariis flantibus compulsus est in Sclavoniae partibus applicare. 5Cum igitur moram aliquamdiu contraxisset ibidem, nec invenire posset navem tunc temporis transfretantem: fraudatum se a suo desiderio sentiens, nautas quosdam Anconam tendentes, ut amore Dei eum secum ducerent, exoravit. 6Verum illis propter expensarum defectum pertinaciter recusantibus, vir Dei plurimum de Domini bonitate confisus, navem cum socio latenter conscendit. 7Affuit quidam a Deo, ut creditur, pro paupere suo missus, qui secum ferens necessaria victus, quemdam timentem Deum de navi ad se vocatum sic allocutus est: 8« Haec omnia pro pauperibus fratribus in navi latitantibus conserva fideliter ac necessitatis tempore amicabiliter subministra! » 9Sicque factum est,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 600