The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 240 

petent servants, and that our efforts will be criticized as presumption, rather than obedience.

Blessed father, if the results of so much labor were to be examined only by your kind self, and did not have to be presented to a public audience, we would gladly be instructed by your correction and rejoice in your approval. Who can examine closely and balance carefully such diverse words and deeds, so that all listeners would be of one mind? We simply want to benefit each and everyone. So we beg those who read this to interpret it kindly and to bear with or correct the simplicity of the narrator so that reverence for the person who is our subject may remain intact. Our memory, like that of ignorant people, is blunted by the passage of time and cannot attain the heights of his profound words or due praise for his marvelous deeds. Even a quick and well-trained mind could hardly grasp these things, even if directly confronted with them. By your authority, you repeatedly ordered us to write. Now, pardon us publicly for our clumsy mistakes.

2 In the first place, this work contains some marvelous details about the conversion of Saint Francis not included in earlier legends written about him because they were never brought to the author’s attention. Then we will attempt to express and carefully state the good, pleasing and perfect will of our most holy father. This concerns both himself and his followers, the exercise of heavenly discipline, and that striving for highest perfection which he always expressed in love for God and in living example for others. Here and there, according to the opportunity, we have included a number of his miracles. We describe in a plain and simple way things that occur to us, wishing to accommodate those who are slower and, if possible, also to please the learned.

We beg you, therefore, kind father, consecrate with your blessing this small gift of our work—small, but not to be despised—which we gathered with no small labor. Correct its errors. Trim away the superfluous.

Thus things well said will be approved
by your learned opinion, and
like your name,
they will build to a crescendo
and everywhere increase and multiply in Christ.


Here ends the Prologue




Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 444-445

formidamus ne ministrantium indignitate reddantur insipida, sicque praesumptioni potius id tentasse quam obedientiae imputetur.

5Nam si tanti huius laboris effectus benevolentiae vestrae, beate pater, tantum spectaret examen, nec esset ad aures publicas opportunum prodire, sumeremus gratissime aut de correctione doctrinam aut de adstipulatione laetitiam. 6Quis enim, in tanta diversitate verborum et actuum, lance subtilis examinis valeat sic cuncta pensare, ut omnium auditorum sit de singulis una sententia? 7Sed quoniam omnium et singulorum simplici animo lucra conquirimus, hortamur, ut benigne interpretentur qui legunt, sicque referentium simplicitatem supportent vel dirigant, ut eius de quo fit sermo, reverentia illaesa servetur. 8Memoria nostra velut hominum rudium, temporis prolixitate obtusa, fugas subtilium verborum eius et factorum stupenda praeconia nequit attingere, quae mentis exercitatae velocitas etiam coram posita comprehendere vix valeret. 9Excuset igitur apud omnes nostrae imperitiae culpas repetita multoties praecipientis auctoritas.

2 1Continet in primis hoc opusculum quaedam conversionis sancti Francisci facta mirifica, quae ideo in Legendis dudum de ipso confectis non fuerunt apposita, quoniam ad auctoris notitiam minime pervenerunt. - 2Dehinc vero exprimere intendimus et vigilanti studio declarare, quae sanctissimi patris tam in se quam in suis fuerit voluntas bona, beneplacens et perfecta, in omni exercitio disciplinae caelestis et summae perfectionis studio, quod semper habuit apud Deum in sacris affectibus et apud homines in exemplis. 3Miracula quaedam interseruntur, prout se ponendi opportunitas offert. 4Exili proinde studio et mediocri, quae occurrunt describimus, cupientes tardioribus morem gerere et etiam studiosis placere, si possumus.

5Oramus ergo, benignissime pater, ut laboris huius non contemnenda munuscula, quae non pauco labore quaesivimus, vestra benedictione consecrare velitis, corrigendo errata et superflua resecantes,

ut ea quae bene dicta
vestro iudicio docto probantur,
cum nomine vestro vere
ubique et multiplicentur in Christo


Explicit prologus.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 240