The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 370 

Chapter I


1In the city of Assisi, in the region of the Spoleto valley, there was a certain man named Francis, a businessman by profession, who was very rich in passing wealth, but poor in the works of justice. Ti 3:5 From the time of his earliest youth, he was disgracefully raised in the vanities of the world, and became even more extravagant than his parents. Why say any more?a

He devoted himself completely to the most miserable glory and happiness of the world, and having tried to outdistance the rest in these things, he showed the wantonness of a restless heart in jokes and games, bearing and dress, lewd words and songs. And although he was the most careful acquirer of money, he did not keep his largess in balance. In fact, in keeping or dispensing money, he was more inclined to prodigality than avarice. And so, because of the senseless dissipation of his wealth, he seemed affable and obliging, but he dragged behind him as an evil tail Rv 12:4 many who clung to him for this reason, and they followed him as their guide and leader headlong into ruin.

Thus, surrounded by ranks of confederates, he walked the way of perdition until almost his twenty-fifth year, when it pleased the Lord to declare the glory of his wonders, Ps 111:4 [Vulgate, Ps 110:4] so that the marvelous change wrought in him by the right hand of the Most High Ps 77:11 [Vulgate, Ps 76:11] might be a wondrous example to posterity and hold out hope of recovering grace to sinners.b

2Thus, the divine mercy first began—for his own benefit and for many others—to call back the vagabond with physical troubles and forced him, worn down by a lengthy illness, to think differently about things than he had been accustomed.c And so it happened that he began




Iuliani de Spira Officium Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Caput I

Quo ordine sit conversus ac sua vendiderit, et quanta a patre eum persequente sustinuit.

1 1Fuit igitur in vallis Spoletanae finibus, civitate Assisio, vir quidam nomine Franciscus, negotiator officio, praedives transitoriis opibus, sed iustitiae pauper operibus. 2Nam a primaevo aetatis suae tempore in mundi vanitatibus indecenter nutritus, suis etiam nutritoribus insolentior est effectus. 3Quid multa? Hic saeculi miserrimae felicitati et gloriae penitus intendebat; caeterosque in his praeire conatus, cordis inquieti lasciviam iocis et lusibus, gestu et habitu, verbis impudicis et cantibus ostentabat. 4Et cum esset pecuniarum cautissimus conquisitor, etsi in dispensando vel retinendo largitatis medium non tenebat, plus tamen in partem prodigalitatis quam avaritiae declinabat. 5Unde cum propter inanem suorum dissipationem videretur affabilis et humanus, multorum ob hoc sibi cohaerentium caudam post se traxit iniquam, qui ipsum veluti caput et ducem sequebantur praecipites ad ruinam.

6Sic, suorum complicum stipatus agminibus, usque ad annum aetatis suae fere vigesimum quintum in via perditionis incessit; 7donec ad declarandam mirabilium suorum gloriam Domino complacuit, ut miranda in illo dexterae Excelsi mutatio et in stuporis exemplum posteris fieret, respirandique in gratiam peccatoribus spem praeberet.

2 1Aggreditur itaque primum divina miseratio, ad illius multorumque salutem, corporalibus molestiis erroneum revocare, et diutinis attritum languoribus coëgit iam solitis dissimilia cogitare; 2sicque factum est ut inciperet, etsi non plene, mansuescere sub flagellis, quod antea nesciebat in prosperis.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 370