The Minor Legend - 697 

ately, who portray by a natural likeness the gracious gentleness of Christ and exemplify it in the Scriptures. It came to pass by a supernatural influx of power that the nature of brute animals was moved in some gracious manner toward him. Even inanimate things obeyed his command, as if this same holy man, so simple and upright, had already returned to the state of innocence. Jb 2:3

Seventh Lesson

The source of piety pervaded the servant of the Lord with such fullness and abundance that he seemed to possess a mother's heart for relieving the misery of suffering people. He had an inborn kindness doubled by the piety of Christ poured out on him. His soul melted for the poor and infirm, and to those to whom he could not extend a hand he extended his affection. With tenderness of a pious heart, he referred to Christ anyone he saw in need or deprivation. In all the poor he saw before him a portrait of Christ. He not only freely gave to those he met the necessities of life if these had been given to him, but he also resolved they should be returned as if they truly belonged to them. He spared nothing at all, neither mantles nor tunics, neither books nor even appointments of the altar; all these he gave to the poor when he could to fulfill his obligation of piety, even to the utter privation of himself.

Eighth Lesson

His zeal for fraternal salvation, which emerged from the furnace of love, pierced the inmost parts of this man like a sharp and flaming sword. Aflame with the ardor of imitation and stricken with the sorrow of compassion, this man seemed to be completely consumed. Whenever he became aware that souls redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ were stained by the filth of sin, he would be pierced by a remarkable sting of sorrow. He grieved with such tender care that he seemed like a mother who was daily bringing them to birth in Christ. For this reason, he struggled to pray, was active in preaching, and outstanding in giving good example. He did not think that he was a friend of Christ unless he cherished the souls which Christ redeemed. Although his innocent flesh subjected itself freely to his spirit, it had no need of the lash due to offenses. Nevertheless, for the sake of example, he kept on subjecting it to pain and burdens, keeping the difficult ways because of others, so that he perfectly followed the footsteps of He who in death handed over his life for the salvation of others.

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Legenda Minor, Fontes Franciscani, p. 984-985


quamquam illas viscerosius complexaretur et dulcius, quae Christi mansuetudinem piam similitudine naturali praetendunt et Scripturae significatione figurant. 5Quamobrem supernaturali fiebat influente virtute, ut natura brutorum pio quodam modo moveretur ad ipsum, sed et sensu carentia parerent ad placitum, ac si idem vir sanctus ut simplex et rectus ad statum iam foret innocentiae reformatus.

Lectio septima.

7 1Pietatis quoque dulcedo tanta plenitudinis copia in Domini famulum a misericordiae fonte manaverat, ut ad miserabilium personarum relevandas miserias viscera videretur gestare materna, cum et clementiam haberet ingenitam, quam superinfusa Christi pietas duplicabat. 2Itaque liquescebat animus eius ad infirmos et pauperes, et quibus non poterat manum, exhibebat affectum: 3pro eo quod quidquid penuriae, quidquid defectus cernebat in aliquo, pii cordis dulcedine regerebat in Christum. 4Cumque in pauperibus cunctis effigiem Christi prospiceret, si qua etiam necessaria vitae sibi collata fuissent, eis occurrentibus non solum liberaliter conferebat, verum etiam, ac si illorum propria essent iudicabat esse reddenda. 5Nulli prorsus rei parcebat, nec mantellis nec tunicis nec libris nec etiam paramentis altaris, quin omnia haec, dum posset, largiretur egentibus, cupiens, ut perfectae pietatis impleret officium, etiam superimpendere semetipsum.

Lectio octava.

8 1Zelus fraternae salutis, ex caritatis fornace procedens, ut gladius acutus et flammeus adeo Francisci pertransiit intima, ut vir iste zelotes totus videretur et aemulationis ardore succensus et compassionis moerore plagatus. 2Siquidem animas Christi Iesu sanguine pretioso redemptas cum cerneret inquinari aliqua sorde peccati, miro doloris confossus aculeo, tanta miserationis teneritudine deplorabat, ut eas tamquam mater in Christo quotidie parturiret. 3Hinc sibi in oratione luctamen, in praedicatione discursus, in exemplis dandis excessus, pro eo quod non se Christi putaret amicum, nisi animas foveret quas ille redemit. 4Propter quod, licet innocens eius caro, quae se iam sponte subdebat spiritui, nullo propter offensas egeret flagello, tamen exempli causa poenas illi renovabat et onera, custodiens propter alios vias duras, ut illius perfecte subsequeretur vestigia, qui pro aliorum salute tradidit in mortem animam suam.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 697