The Minor Legend - 695 

Third Lesson

Truly, even though he had attained purity of heart and body, and in some manner was approaching the height of sanctification, he did not cease to cleanse the eyes of his soul with a continuous flood of tears. He longed for the sheer brilliance of the heavenly light and disregarded the loss of his bodily eyes. When he had incurred a very serious eye illness from his continuous weeping, a doctor advised him to restrain his tears if he wanted to avoid losing his sight. He, however, would not assent to this. He asserted that he preferred to lose sight than repress the devotion of the spirit and impede the tears which cleansed his interior vision so that he could see God.a He was a man devoted to God, who, drenched in spiritual tears, displayed a serenity in both mind and face. The luster of a pure conscience anointed him with such joy that his mind was forever caught up in God, and he rejoiced at all times in the works of his hands. 2 Cor 5:13

Fourth Lesson

Humility, that guard and embellishment of all virtues, had by right so filled the man of God that, although a manifold privilege of virtues was reflected in him, nevertheless, it sought its special domain in him as though in the least of the lesser ones. In his own opinion, by which he accounted himself the greatest of sinners, he was really nothing more than some dirty earthen vessel, while in truth he was an elect vessel of sanctification, set apart by sanctity and glittering with the adornment of many kinds of virtue and grace. Moreover, he strove to regard himself as worthless in his own eyes and in those of others, to reveal by public confession his hidden faults, and to keep the Giver's gifts hidden in the secrecy of his heart. He did this so that he would in no way be subject to praise which could be an occasion for his downfall. Certainly, in order that he might fulfill all justice Mt 3:15 regarding perfect humility, he so strove to subject himself not only to superiors but also even to inferiors, that he was accustomed to promise obedience even to his companion on a journey, no matter how simple he was. As a result, he did not give orders as a prelate with authority. In his humility, he would rather obey those subject to him as their minister and servant.

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Legenda Minor, Fontes Franciscani, p. 981-982


Lectio tertia.

3 1Verum, licet cordis et corporis puritatem adeptus, sanctificationis quodam modo proximaret ad apicem, non cessabat tamen lacrimarum imbribus iugiter oculos expiare mentales caelestium claritatum concupiscendo munditiam et corporeorum luminum parvipendendo iacturam. 2Cum enim ex continuo fletu infirmitatem oculorum incurrisset gravissimam, suadente medico, quod abstineret a lacrimis, si corporei visus caecitatem vellet effugere, nequaquam assensit; 3malle se asserens corporalis visus lumen amittere, quam lacrimas, quibus oculus emundatur interior, ut Deum videre praevaleat, repressa devotione spiritus impedire. 4Erat quoque vir Deo devotus inter lacrimarum irrigua caelesti quadam iucunditate serenus tam mente quam facie, utpote qui pro conscientiae sanctae nitore tanta perfusus erat unctione laetitiae, ut et mente in Deum incessanter excederet et in cunctis operibus manuum eius iugiter exsultaret.

Lectio quarta.

4 1Omnium virtutum custos et decor humilitas adeo virum Dei sui iuris effecerat, ut, quamvis multiplex in eo fulgeret praerogativa virtutum, haec tamen in ipso tamquam in Minorum minimo praecipuum videretur assecuta dominium. 2In propria quidem reputatione, qua se fatebatur maximum peccatorum, prorsus nil erat nisin fictile quoddam et sordidum vasculum, cum in veritate vas esset sanctificationis electum, multiformis virtutis et gratiae adornatione praefulgidum et sanctitudine dedicatum. 3Studebat quidem summopere in oculis suis aliorumque vilescere, defectus in se latentes publica confessione detegere donaque Datoris pectoris arcano celare, ut ne quaquam pateret gloriae, quod occasio poterat esse ruinae. 4Sane, ut perfectae humilitatis omnem impleret iustitiam, se ipsum adeo studuit non solum superioribus verum etiam inferioribus subdere, quod et socio itineris, quantumlibet simplici, obedientiam promittere solitus erat, ut non tamquam praelatus ex auctoritate praeciperet, sed tamquam minister et servus etiam subditis ex humilitate pareret.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 695