The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 249 

kiss. Francis immediately mounted his horse and although the field was wide open, without any obstructions, when he looked around he could not see the leper anywhere.a

Filled with joy and wonder at this event, 2 Cor 7:4
within a few days he deliberately tried to do something similar.
He made his way to the houses of the lepersb
and, giving money to each,
he also gave a kiss on the hand and mouth.
Thus he took the bitter for the sweet
and courageously prepared to carry out the rest.

Chapter VI
THE IMAGE OF THE CRUCIFIED WHICH SPOKE TO HIM,
AND THE HONOR THAT HE GAVE TO IT.

10 With his heart already completely changed—soon his body was also to be changed—he was walking one day by the church of San Damiano,c which was abandoned by everyone and almost in ruins.

Led by the Spirit he went in to pray and knelt down devoutly before the crucifix. Mt 4:1 He was shaken by unusual experiences and discovered that he was different from when he had entered. As soon as he had this feeling, there occurred something unheard of in previous ages: with the lips of the painting, the image of Christ crucified spoke to him. “Francis,” it said, calling him by name, “go rebuild My house; as you see, it is all being destroyed.” Francis was more than a little stunned, trembling, and stuttering like a man out of his senses. He prepared himself to obey and pulled himself together to carry out the command. He felt this mysterious change in himself, but he could not describe it. So it is better for us to remain silent about it too. From that time on, compassion for the Crucified was impressed into his holy soul. And we honestly believe the wounds of the sacred Passion were impressed deep in his heart, though not yet on his flesh.

11 What an admirable thing,
unheard of in earlier ages!
Who would not be amazed at this?
Who ever heard of anything like it?

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Vita Secunda Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 451-453


pecuniam cum osculo reportavit. 12Et statim equum ascendens et huc et illuc se convertens, cum campus pateret undique liber, nullis obiectis obstaculis, leprosum illum minime vidit.

13Admiratione inde repletus et gaudio
post dies paucos opus simile facere curat.
14Ad leprosorum habitacula tendit,
et leproso unicuique data pecunia,
manum illorum osculatur et buccam.
15Sic amara pro dulcibus sumit,
et viriliter ad reliqua servanda se parat.

Caput VI
De imagine crucifixi quae sibi locuta fuit,
et honore quem ei impendit.

10 1Mutatus perfecte iam corde, in brevi mutandus et corpore, ambulat die quadam iuxta ecclesiam Sancti Damiani, quae fere diruta erat et ab omnibus derelicta.

2Quam cum, spiritu ducente, causa orationis intraret, ante crucifixum supplex et devotus prosternitur, et visitationibus pulsatus insolitis, alterum quam ingressus fuerat se invenit. 3Cui protinus sic affecto, quod est a saeculis inauditum, imago Christi crucifixi, labiis picturae deductis, colloquitur. 4Vocans enim ipsum ex nomine: « Francisce », inquit, « vade, repara domum meam, quae, ut cernis, tota destruitur ». 5Tremefactus Franciscus stupet non modicum, et quasi alienus a sensu efficitur in sermone. 6Ad obediendum se parat, totum se recolligit ad mandatum. 7At vero quia ineffabilem sui mutationem persensit, quod exprimere ipse non potuit, expedit nos silere. 8Infigitur ex tunc sanctae animae Crucifixi compassio, et ut pie putari potest, cordi eius, licet nondum carni, venerandae stigmata passionis altius imprimuntur.

11 1Mira res
et nostris saeculis inaudita!
2Quis non stupet ad ista?
Quis quandoque similia intellexit?

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 249