The Life of Blessed Francis - 622 

Chapter Twelve


1The truly faithful servant and minister of Christ,
in order to do everything faithfully and perfectly,
directed his efforts chiefly
to the exercise of those virtues which,
by the prodding of the sacred Spirit,
he knew pleased his God more.

In this matter it happened that he fell into a great struggle over a doubt which, after he returned from many days of prayer, he proposed for resolution to the brothers who were close to him.

"What do you think, brothers, what do you judge better? That I should spend my time in prayer, or that I should travel about preaching? I am a poor little man, simple and unskilled in speech; I have received a greater grace of prayer than of speaking. Also in prayer there seems to be a profit and an accumulation of graces, but in preaching a distribution of gifts already received from heaven.

"In prayer there is a purification of interior affections and a uniting to the one, true and supreme good with an invigorating of virtue; in preaching, there is a dust on our spiritual feet, distraction over many things and relaxation of discipline. Lk 10:11

"Finally, in prayer we address God, listen to Him, and, as if living an angelic life, we associate with the angels. In preaching, it is necessary to practice great self-emptying for people and, by living humanly among them, to think, see, speak, and hear human things.

"But there is one thing to the contrary that seems to outweigh all these considerations before God, that is, the only begotten Son of God, who is the highest wisdom, came down from the bosom of the Father for the salvation of souls in order to instruct the world by His example and to speak the word of salvation to people, whom He would redeem by the price of His sacred blood, cleanse with its washing and sustain with its draught, holding back for Himself absolutely nothing that He could freely give for our salvation. And because we should do




Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 879-880

Caput XII

De efficacia praedicandi
et gratia sanitatum.

1 1Fidelis revera famulus et minister Christi
ut cuncta fideliter et perfecte perageret,
illis potissime virtutum
exercitiis intendebat, quae
sacro dictante Spiritu,
Deo suo magis placere cognoverat.

2Qua de re contigit, illum in magnam dubitationis cuiusdam agoniam incidere, quam multis diebus ab oratione rediens terminandam fratribus sibi familiaribus proponebat.

3« Quid », inquit, « fratres, consulitis, quid laudatis? An quod orationi vacem, an quod praedicando discurram? 4Siquidem ego parvulus, simplex et imperitus sermone maiorem orandi accepi gratiam quam loquendi. 5Videtur etiam in oratione lucrum et cumulatio gratiarum, in praedicatione distributio quaedam donorum caelitus acceptorum;

6in oratione etiam purificatio interiorum affectuum et unitio ad unum, verum et summum bonum cum vigoratione virtutis; 7in praedicatione spiritualium pulverizatio pedum, distractio circa multa et relaxatio disciplinae.

8Tandem in oratione Deum alloquimur et audimus et quasi angelicam vitam agentes, inter Angelos conversamur; 9in praedicatione multa oportet condescensione uti ad homines et humane inter eos vivendo, humana cogitare, videre, dicere et audire.

10Sed unum est in contrarium quod videtur praeponderare his omnibus ante Deum, quod videlicet Unigenitus Dei Filius, qui est sapientia summa, propter animarum salutem de sinu Patris descendit, 11ut suo mundum informans exemplo, verbum salutis hominibus loqueretur, quos sacri sanguinis et pretio redimeret et emundaret lavacro et poculo sustentaret, nihil sibi omnino reservans, quod non in salutem nostram liberaliter erogaret. 12Et quia nos debemus omnia facere secundum exemplar eorum,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 622