The Life of Blessed Francis - 608 

for the sake of a small reward,
and easily provokes the giver not to give again."

When he returned from his private prayers, in which he was changed almost into a different man, 1 Sm 10:6 he tried his best to resemble the others, lest what he might show outwardly, the breeze of favor would deprive him of a reward inwardly. When he was suddenly overcome in public by a visitation of the Lord, Lk 1:68 he would always place something between himself and bystanders, so that he would not cheapen the sight of the Bridegroom's intimate touch. When he prayed with the brothers, he completely avoided coughs, groans, hard breathing, or external movement, either because he loved to keep secrecy or because he had withdrawn into his interior and was totally carried into God.

Often he would say to those close to him: "When a servant of God is praying and is visited by the divine, he must say: ‘Lord, you have sent this consolation from heaven to me, an unworthy sinner, and I entrust it to your keeping, because I feel I am a thief of your treasure.' When he returns from his prayer, he should appear as a poor man and a sinner, as if he had not obtained any new grace."

5Once when the man of God was praying in the place of the Portiuncula, the bishop of Assisi happened to come to him, as he often did. As soon as he entered the place, he went more abruptly than he should have to the cell where Christ's servant was praying, knocked on the door, and was about to barge in, when he stuck his head inside and saw the saint praying. Suddenly struck with trembling, his limbs froze, and he lost his voice. By the divine will, he was quickly pushed outside by force and dragged backwards a long way. Stunned, the bishop hurried to the brothers, and, when God had restored his speech, at the first word he confessed his fault as best he could.

One time the abbot of the monastery of San Giustino in the diocese of Perugia happened to meet Christ's servant. When he saw him, the devout abbot quickly dismounted from his horse to show reverence to the man of God and to converse with him a bit about the salvation of his soul. Finally, after a pleasant conversation, the abbot, as he left, humbly asked him to pray for him. The dear man of God replied: "I will willingly pray." When the abbot had ridden away a short distance, the faithful Francis said to his companion: "Wait a little, brother, because I want to pay the debt I promised." As he prayed, suddenly the abbot felt in spirit unusual warmth and




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 865-866

et illum qui dedit,
ad non dandum iterum facile provocari ».

6Quando a privatis redibat orationibus, quibus pene in virum alterum mutabatur, summopere studebat conformare se ceteris, ne forte quod foris ostenderet aura favoris intus a mercede vacuaret. 7Cum in publico subito afficeretur, visitatus a Domino, semper aliquid obiciebat adstantibus, ne Sponsi familiares attactus forinsecus vulgarentur. 8Exscreationes, gemitus, duros anhelitus, extrinsecos nutus orans inter fratres devitabat omnino, sive quia diligebat secretum, sive quia ad interiora reintrans, totus ferebatur in Deum.

9Saepe talia familiaribus dixit: « Quando servus Dei orans visitatur divinitus, dicere debet: 10Istam consolationem mihi peccatori et indigno de caelo misisti, Domine, et ego illam tuae committo custodiae, quia thesauri tui me sentio esse latronem. 11Cum autem ab oratione revertitur, sic debet se pauperculum et peccatorem ostendere, ac si nullam sit novam gratiam consecutus ».

5 1Orante autem viro Dei in loco de Portiuncula, contigit, Assisinatem episcopum venire ad eum, ut erat solitus, visitandum. 2Qui mox, ut locum fuit ingressus, ad cellam in qua Christi servus orabat, plus debito fidenter accessit, pulsoque ostiolo, intraturum se ingerens, dum caput immisit sanctumque orantem conspexit, repentino tremore concussus, obrigescentibus membris, etiam loquelam amisit, subitoque voluntate divina per vim foras propulsus, retrogrado pede procul abductus est. 3Stupefactus episcopus ad fratres festinavit, ut potuit, Deoque sibi restituente loquelam, primo verbo confessus est culpam.

4Contigit tempore quodam, abbatem monasterii Sancti Iustini de episcopatu Perusii obviare famulo Christi. 5Quo viso abbas devotus celeriter de equo descendit, ut et viro Dei reverentiam faceret et de salute animae aliqua cum ipso conferret. 6Tandem, habita collatione suavi, abbas abscedens orari pro se humiliter petiit; cui vir Deo carus respondit: « Orabo libenter ». 7Parum itaque discedente abbate, dixit fidelis Franciscus ad socium: « Exspecta, frater, modicum, quia debitum volo solvere, quod promisi ». 8Orante autem illo, subito abbas insolitum calorem et dulcedinem hactenus inexpertam sensit in spiritu,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 608