The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 483 

terrifying wolf, jaws wide open, rushed at Saint Francis. Saint Francis confronted the wolf with the sign of the Cross, restrained it by the power of God away from himself and from his companion, stopped it in its tracks and closed those savage gaping jaws. Finally he called the wolf to himself: "Come here, Brother Wolf. On behalf of Christ I order you not to harm me or anyone else." Surprising to say, at the sign of the Cross, the wolf closed those terrifying jaws! And as soon as that command was given, the wolf immediately bowed its head, lying down at the saint's feet, and already like a lamb, not a wolf. And as the wolf lay there, Saint Francis said: "Brother Wolf, you've done great damage in this area, and you've committed horrible crimes, mercilessly destroying God's creatures. You've destroyed not only irrational animals, but have dared something more detestable, killing and devouring humans made to the image of God. Therefore, you deserve to be sentenced to a horrible death like a robber or vile murderer. Everyone is crying out the complaint against you, and this whole city is your enemy. But, Brother Wolf, I want to make peace between you and them, so that they no longer will be harmed by you, and they will dismiss all your past offenses, and both men and dogs will no longer pursue you."

14 The wolf gestured with its body, tail and ears, and bowed its head, showing that it fully accepted what the saint said. Saint Francis then spoke again: "Brother Wolf, since you want to make this pact, I promise you that as long as you live I will have your needs constantly provided for by the people of this city, so that you will never again suffer hunger, because I know that, whatever evil you do, you do because of the frenzy of hunger. But, my Brother Wolf, for me to obtain this favor for you, I want you to promise me that you will never harm any animal or person or dare to harm anything. Will you promise me that?" The wolf gave a clear sign by bowing its head that it promised to do what the saint demanded. Saint Francis then said: "Brother Wolf, I want you to give me a pledge so that I may confidently believe what you promise." When Saint Francis extended his hand to receive this pledge, the wolf raised its right paw, and gently placed it on the hand of Saint Francis, giving its pledge with the only sign it could. Then Saint Francis said: "Brother Wolf, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ, Acts 16:18 come with me now, don't hesitate, so we can make this pact in the name of the Lord."

21 The wolf obeyed and, like the meekest lamb, immediately went with Saint Francis. The people of the city who saw this were completely astonished; and the news immediately spread through the whole town, so that everyone, old and young, both men and women, commoners and nobles, converged together on the town square,




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 483