The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 248 

As he was to be entrusted
with the mission of an apostle,
he was completely Catholic in faith.
From the very beginning
he was full of reverence
for God’s ministers and ministries.

Chapter V
HOW THE DEVIL SHOWED HIM A WOMAN WHILE HE WAS PRAYING
AND THE ANSWER WHICH GOD GAVE HIM,
AND WHAT HE DID FOR LEPERS

9 Under his worldly clothing
he wore a religious spirit;
leaving public places
he sought places of solitude,
where he was often instructed by visits of the Holy Spirit.
He was drawn away,
lured by that remarkable delight
that from the very beginning flowed over him abundantly
and never left him as long as he lived.

As he began to visit hidden places conducive to prayer, the devil struggled to drive him away with an evil trick. He made Francis think of a horribly hunchbacked woman who lived in town and whose looks scared everyone. The devil threatened that he would become like her if he did not turn back sensibly from what he had begun. But, strengthened by the Lord, Eph 6:10 he rejoiced at a response of healing and grace. “Francis,” God said to him in spirit “you have traded what you loved in a fleshly, empty way for things of the spirit, taking the bitter for the sweet. If you want to come to know Me, despise yourself. For when the order is reversed, the things I say will taste sweet to you even though they seem the opposite.” He was moved to obey immediately the divine command, and was led through experience to the truth of these things.

Among all the awful miseries of this world Francis had a natural horror of lepers, and one day as he was riding his horse near Assisi he met a leper on the road. He felt terrified and revolted, but not wanting to transgress God’s command and break the sacramenta of His word, he dismounted from his horse and ran to kiss him. As the leper stretched out his hand, expecting something, he received both money and a

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Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 450-451


7Nam apostolicam sumpturus legationem,
fideque catholica integer totus,
erga ministros et ministeria Dei
reverentia plenus
ab initio fuit.

Caput V
Qualiter sibi oranti diabolus mulierem ostendit,
et de responso quod sibi Deus dedit,
et quid fecerit de leprosis.

9 1Eia sic sub saeculari habitu
religiosum animum gerit,
et solitaria loca
de publicis petens,
visitatione Spiritus Sancti monetur saepissime.
2Abstrahitur namque
et illicitur illa principali dulcedine,
quae sie a principio eum plenarie superfudit,
ut nusquam ab eo recesserit, donec vixit.

3Dum autem loca frequentat abscondita velut orationibus congrua, maligno commento nititur eum diabolus a talibus exturbare. 4Immittit cordi eius feminam quamdam monstruose gibbosam, suae incolam civitatis, quae horrendum cunctis praestabat aspectum. 5Huic illum, si non resipiscat a coeptis, comminatur similem se facturum . 6Sed confortatus a Domino, salutis et gratiae responsum sibi fieri gaudet ; 7« Francisce », . inquit illi Deus in spiritu, « pro carnaliter et vane dilectis, iam spiritualia commutato, et amara pro dulcibus sumens, contemne te ipsum, me si velis agnoscere; nam, et ordine verso, sapient tibi quae dico ». 8Compellitur statim mandatis obedire divinis, et ad rei experientiam ducitur.

9Nam inter omnia infelicia monstra mundi Franciscus leprosos naturaliter abhorrens, leprosum die quadam obvium habuit, cum. iuxta Assisium equitaret. 10Qui licet sibi taedium non parvum ingereret et horrorem, ne tamen velut mandati transgressor datae fidei frangeret sacramentum, ad deosculandum eum, equo lapsus, accurrit. 11Cui cum manum quasi aliquid accepturus leprosus protenderet, pecuniam cum osculo reportavit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 248