The Life of Blessed Francis - 613 

not neglect zeal for prayer;aand, as long as they study, not to know what they should say, but to practice what they have heard and, once they have put it into practice, propose it to others. I want my brothers," he said, "to be Gospel disciples and so progress in knowledge of the truth that they increase in pure simplicity without separating the simplicity of the dove from the wisdom of the serpent which our eminent Teacher joined together in a statement from his own blessed lips."b Mt 10:16

2At Siena, a religious, who was a Doctor of Sacred Theology, once asked him about certain questions that were difficult to understand. He brought to light the secrets of divine wisdom with such clarity in teaching, that the learned man was absolutely dumbfounded. With admiration he responded: "Truly the theology of this holy father, borne aloft, as it were, on the wings of purity and contemplation, is a soaring eagle; while our learning crawls on its belly on the ground."

For although he was unskilled in word,
nevertheless, full of knowledge,
he often untangled the ambiguities of questions
and brought the hidden into light.
Nor is it inconsistent!
If the holy man had received from God
an understanding of the Scriptures,
it is because,
through his imitation of Christ
he carried in his activity the perfect truth described in them and,
through a full anointing of the Holy Spirit,
held their Teacher in his heart.




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 870

orationis studium non omittant, nec tantum studeant, ut sciant qualiter debeant loqui, sed ut audita faciant, et cum fecerint, aliis facienda proponant. 6Volo », inquit, « fratres meos discipulos evangelicos esse sicque in notitia veritatis proficere, quod in simplicitatis puritate concrescant, ut simplicitatem columbinam a prudentia serpentina non separent, quas Magister eximius ore suo benedicto coniunxit ».

2 1Interrogatus Senis a quodam religioso viro, theologiae sacrae doctore, de quibusdam quaestionibus difficilibus intellectu, tanta claritate doctrinae divinae sapientiae patefaciebat arcana, ut vehementer stuperet vir file peritus et cum admiratione referret: 2« Vere theologia sancti patris istius, puritate ac contemplatione tamquam alis in altum subvecta, est aquila volans; nostra vero scientia ventre graditur super terram ».

3Licet enim esset imperitus sermone,
scientia tamen plenus
enodabat dubia questionum
et abscondita producebat in lucem.
4Nec absonum,
si vir sanctus Scripturarum
a Deo intellectum acceperat,
per imitationem Christi
perfectam veritatem ipsarum descriptam gestaret in opere et
per sancti Spiritus unctionem plenariam,
doctorem earum apud se haberet in corde.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 613