The Kinship of Saint Francis - 730 

[Chapter VII]


38 Seventh, blessed Francis was like Christ principally in his array of merits, especially in humility and obedience, in poverty and indigence, in charity and friendship, in purity and continence, in infirmity and patience, in strictness and penance, in impartiality and justice, in piety and clemency, in devotion and joy, in discernment and wisdom, in employment and diligence.

In the first place, blessed Francis was like Christ in many ways with respect to meritorious deeds in humility. For as Christ, meek and humble of heart, did not seek His own glory, but that of the Father, He was seen to despise Himself by saying: "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing." In a similar way, blessed Francis fled his own glory and despised himself in many ways, etc. He was seen to be conformed to Christ in many ways through the intensity of his most burning love. For Christ underwent many evils in the world out of the highest intensity of love so that He would reconcile the world to the Father, for which reason He said he had come to send the fire of love on the earth. So Francis, totally inflamed with burning charity bore such an enkindling of love to God and his neighbor that, for the honor of God, for the reparation of the entire world, he looked down on the prosperity of the world and continually underwent harshness of the flesh even unto death.

He was also conformed to Christ in another way, in the purity and virginity of his flesh. For Christ was not only a most pure virgin, but his flesh never rebelled against his spirit. He had many imitators, although not in the first degree of excellence; of the second, there were none, except His Mother. Still blessed Francis was a most pure virgin not only in his mind, but also in his flesh, as God revealed to Brother Leo, his confessor, as he wrote to the general minister. For, once, he saw blessed Francis in a vision standing upon a very high mountain, and he was asked: "Do you know what these things signify? That high mountain is virginity; on its summit Francis is standing." Lord Bonaventure therefore said that, although he was brought up among wanton youths, with God's protection, he did not pursue the drives of the flesh. That flesh arrived at such purity




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 730