The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 385 

spairing of his own efforts, anticipated every undertaking with devout prayer—through which he infallibly learned what he was to do—and, impelled by a zeal that came from God, chose to live for the gain of his neighbors rather than for himself alone.

Then, comforted in the Lord, Eph 6:10 Saint Francis began to speak out more boldly Acts 9:28 owing to the apostolic authority he had been granted, and going around through cities, towns and villages, Mt 9:35 he steadfastly preached penance. He was particularly careful to show himself blameless in all things, Tb 10:13 2 Cor 6:4 lest he be thought to gloss over the truth with flattering words. Educated men marveled at the power of the words of him who had not been taught by man, and seeing the noble and lowborn, rich and poor crowd around him in bands, they astutely made their way to him as though to a new star rising in the darkness. In fact, he provided a plan of salvation to persons of every state and condition, age and sex, giving them all a rule of life. Today, the church rejoices that his felicitous leadership of both sexes has brought about a threefold army of those who are to be saved.

As we mentioned above, he founded three Orders, the first of which
he prized above all others by profession and habit, and which, as he had written in its Rule, he called the Order of Lesser Brothers.a The Second Order, the Order of the Poor Ladies and virgins of the Lord, also mentioned above, likewise took its fruitful origin from him.b The Third, also an order of considerable perfection, is called the Order of Penitents, which profitably brings together clerics and laity, virgins, unmarried, and married persons of both sexes.

24Who will be able to tell in detail just how Blessed Francis himself magnificently served the Order of Lesser Brothers in the perfection of every virtue by going beyond what was asked, or how he instructed his brothers and sons concerning all matters of true religion?c

Now sufficiently taught in all things perfect by his tutor, the grace of the Holy Spirit, he wished to come to know in himself every kind of perfection by experience. And so, he first taught his brothers by his example those things which he later urged on them by frequent sweet




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

veluti de sua diffisus industria, devotis orationum studiis negotia cuncta praeveniens, ibi quid ageret infallibiliter didicit, zeloque ductus divino proximorum lucris intendere quam sibi soli vivere praeelegit.

3Tunc sanctus Franciscus, in Domino confortatus, ex auctoritate apostolica fiducialius agere coepit, et per civitates villasque et castella circuiens, poenitentiam constantissime praedicavit. 4Curabat praecipue semetipsum irreprehensibilem in omnibus exhibere, ne veritatem cogeretur verbis adulatoriis palliare. 5Mirabantur viri litterati eius, quem non homo docuerat, verborum virtutem, videntes ad ipsum nobiles et ignobiles divites et egenos turmatim confluere, eique, veluti novo sideri in tenebris orienti sollerter intendere. 6Omni namque ordini, conditioni, aetati et sexui congruenter documenta salutis impendit; 7omnibus vivendi regulam tribuit, cuius hodie felicem ducatum in utroque sexu sequentium triumphare se gaudet ecclesia triplici militia salvandorum.

8Tres enim, ut supra tetigimus, Ordines ordinavit; quorum primum ipse professione simul et habitu super omnes excellentissime tenuit, quem et Ordinem Fratrum Minorum, sicut in Regula scripserat, appellavit. 9Secundus etiam, qui supra memoratus est, pauperum Dominarum et virginum felix ab eo sumpsit exordium. 10Tertius quoque non mediocris perfectionis Ordo Poenitentium dicitur, qui clericis et laicis, virginibus, continentibus coniugatisque communis, sexum salubriter utrumque complectitur.

24 1Verum qualiter ipse beatus Franciscus Ordinem Fratrum Minorum in omni virtutum culmine magnifice supererogando servaverit, qualiterve ad omnia, quae sunt verae religionis, suos fratres et filios informaverit, quis enarrare per singula poterit?

2Nam in omnibus, quae perfecta sunt doctrice Spiritus sancti gratia sufficienter instructus, omnem in semetipso perfectionem voluit experientia teste cognoscere; 3et sic fratres omnia primum factis edocuit, quae et postmodum ipsos frequentia melliflui sermonis admonuit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 385