The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 374 

his son was living wretchedly in hiding in the aforesaid place. Quite disturbed at this unexpected outcome, he gathered his friends and acquaintances together Lk 15:9 and ran to the place without delay. But the new soldier of Christ, hearing the arrival and threats of his pursuers, was pleased to leave room for wrath. Rom 12:19 To avoid being seen by his father, he hid himself in a certain cave which he had prepared for the purpose. So, for about a whole month, he was helped by only one person who chanced to know the hiding place. He emerged from there rarely, hardly compelled even by necessity, and did not stop imploring the divine mercy there with tears and fasting Jn 2:12 to rescue him from the clutches of his persecutors. Ps 31:16 [Vulgate, Ps 30:16]

While praying in darkness, he was flooded with an amazing and un-
familiar joy. Because of this, he was suddenly filled with such great constancy of mind that he not only went out in public, spurning his persecutors, but also seriously accused himself of laziness and apathy because he had been inactive in hiding. His acquaintances, seeing him entirely changed from his former state, thin and dirty, did not attribute this to supernatural grace, but rather to insanity; and they miserably insulted him and threw mud and stones at him. Nevertheless, the man of God passed through their midst uninjured as if with a deaf ear and gave thanks to Him who comforted him from above. When his father heard that Francis had appeared in such a condition, he quickly ran after him in an inhuman, rather than a fatherly way, and even more than all the others, began to rage at him.

8Francis’s father thought that once he had dragged him home in disgrace, he could, through opposition, be turned back from what he had already begun. So he first cruelly afflicted him with blows and insults, but finally abandoning all mercy, he threw him into a cell in chains. But the more he raged against the knight of Christ by afflicting him with sufferings, so much the more did he render him powerful and strong; nor could he, who had the Lord as his shelter in distress, Ps 32:7 [Vulgate, Ps 31:7] be turned away by adversity from the state of virtue.

It happened, however, that once when his father was absent from the house on account of family matters, his mother, who did not approve of her husband’s actions, tried to call her son back from his purpose by speaking to him with flattering words. But when she saw that she could not, having been moved by motherly piety, she secretly broke the chains and allowed her son to go free. But, as one tried in temptation, he became more composed than ever, and giving thanks to Almighty God,




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

qualiter in loco praefato filius eius misere degendo delituit. 2Turbatus itaque non mediocriter ad subitum rei eventum, convocatis amicis, et notis, sine mora cucurrit ad locum. 3Sed novo Christi militi, adventum minasque persequentium audienti, irae locum dare complacuit; et ne videretur a patre, cuidam caveae, quam ad hoc ante providerat, se immersit. 4In hac ergo quasi per mensem integrum latitanti ab uno solo forsitan locum sciente clandestinum impendebatur obsequium; 5et inde vix aliqua necessitate compulsus egrediens, divinam illic clementiam in ieiuniis et fletu non desiit implorare, ut a persequentium manibus ipsum dignaretur eripere.

6Infusa est proinde in tenebris exoranti mira quaedam et inexperta laetitia, ex qua subito in tantam mentis animatur constantiam, ut non solum, persecutoribus spretis, in publicum prodeat, verum etiam, quia segniter latuerit, torporis et ignaviae se graviter arguat. 7Videntes itaque noti eius virum a statu pristino penitus alteratum macieque et squalore confectum, non id supernae gratiae sed dementiae potius imputabant; et eidem miserabiliter insultantes, luto eum et lapidibus impetebant. 8Sed vir Dei nulla fractus iniuria, velut aure surda transibat et gratias illi, a quo desuper confortabatur, agebat. 9Tandem rumor auribus patris insonuit, suum taliter filium comparuisse; qui, non paterno sed ferali modo festinus accurrens, coepit in illum plus caeteris omnibus insanire.

8 1Domi namque satis inhoneste pertractum, putans ab incepto per adversa reflectere, primo quidem contumeliis verberibusque crudeliter afficit; sed demum vinculatum in carcerem, omni miseratione subtracta, detrudit. 2Quanto autem in Christi militem tribulationis pressura desaevit, tanto amplius validum reddit et firmum; 3nec valet a statu rectitudinis per adversa deflecti, cui est Dominus in tribulatione refugium.

4Accidit autem die quadam patrem eius a domo causa rei familiaris abscedere, cum mater illius factum mariti non approbans, blandis filium allocuta sermonibus, sic illum a suo attentabat proposito revocare. 5Quod cum se non posse conspiceret materna pietate commota latenter vincula rupit, filioque soluto liberum abire permisit. 6At ille veluti iam in tentatione probatus, solito securior est effectus, et gratias omnipotenti Domino referens,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 374