The Minor Legend - 698 

Ninth Lesson

Given the fire of his charity which carried the friend of the Spouse into God, one is able to perceive that he thoroughly desired to offer to the Lord his own life as a living sacrifice Rom 12:1 in the flames of martyrdom. It was for this reason that he attempted on three occasions to journey to the territory of the non-believers. Twice he was restrained by the will of God. On the third attempt, after much abuse, many chains, floggings, and innumerable hardships, he was led with the help of God into the presence of the Sultan of Babylon. He preached Jesus with such an efficacious demonstration of spirit and of power that the Sultan was overflowing with admiration, and became docile by the will of God and granted Francis a kind audience. Recognizing in him a fervor of spirit, a constancy of mind, a contempt for this present life, and the efficacy of God's word, the Sultan conceived such a devotion toward him that he deemed him worthy of great honor. He offered him precious gifts and earnestly invited him to prolong his stay with him. This true despiser of himself and of the world spurned as dirt all that was offered to him. When he realized that he was not able to accomplish his purpose after he had truly done all that he could to obtain it, he made his way back to the lands of the faithful as he was advised by a revelation. So it was that this friend of Christ with all his strength sought to die for him and yet could not achieve it. He did not lack the merit of his desired martyrdom, and he was spared to be honored in the future with a unique privilege.

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Legenda Minor, Fontes Franciscani, p. 985-986


Lectio nona.

9 1Caritatis quoque perfectae fervorem, quo Sponsi amicus ferebatur in Deum, ex hoc potissimum quis valet advertere, quod per martyrii flammam se ipsum ut hostiam vivam Domino peroptabat offerre. 2Tribus namque vicibus ob hoc versus partes infidelium iter aggressus, sed bis divina dispositione prohibitus, tertia tandem vice post multa opprobria, vincula, verbera et labores innumeros ad conspectum Soldani Babyloniae, Domino deducente, perductus, in tam efficaci ostensione spiritus et virtutis evangelizavit Iesum, ut admiraretur ipse Soldanus et nutu divino in mansuetudinem versus, benignum ei praeberet auditum. 3Cernens quidem in eo fervorem spiritus, constantiam animi, contemptum vitae praesentis efficaciamque divini sermonis, devotionem tantam concepit ad ipsum, ut magno eum honore dignum duceret, munera pretiosa offerret et ad secum trahendum moram instanter invitaret. 4At verus mundi suique contemptor, oblata omnia spernens ut lutum seque conspiciens assequi suum non posse propositum, postquam ad id obtinendum sine fictione peregit quod potuit, ad partes fidelium, revelatione praemonitus remeavit. 5Sicque factum est, ut Christi amicus mortem pro ipso viribus totis exquireret et tamen nullatenus inveniret, quo et merito non careret optati martyrii et insigniendus servaretur in posterum privilegio singulari.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 698