The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 521 

harm. Adorned with fins and filled with strength, you can go anywhere you please. By the command of the Lord it was given to you to preserve Jonah, the prophet, and after the third day to place him unharmed on the shore. You offered the coin for the Lord Jesus Christ when, as a poor man, he did not have anything to pay the tax. You were specially chosen as the food of the Eternal King, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ before the Resurrection and after the Resurrection. Because of all this you, who more than other animals have already received so many special gifts, are most obliged to praise and bless the Lord."

15 At these words and similar exhortations some fish made sounds; some opened their mouths; and all bowed their heads, praising the Most High by what signs they could. Gladdened in spirit by the reverence of the fish Saint Anthony cried out in a loud voice, saying: "Blessed be the Eternal God, because God is more honored by fish in the sea than by men in heresy, and unreasoning beasts pay more attention than unbelieving humans!"

17 The more blessed Anthony preached, the more the number of fish increased, and none of them left the place it had taken. The people of the city and even the heretics came running at the word of this miracle. They saw this unusual and amazing event, with irrational creatures listening to Saint Anthony; and all of them, stricken to the heart, sat at the feet of Saint Anthony begging him to preach to them.

19 Then opening his mouth Saint Anthony preached so wonderfully about the Catholic faith that he converted all the heretics who were there; and believers strengthened in the faith remained there with joy and a blessing. The fish also, given leave by the saint, left for other areas, happy and joyful with amazing tricks and approving nods.

21 For many days after this Saint Anthony preached at Rimini and produced great fruit in the conversion of heretics and in the devotion of the clergy.

To the praise and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 521