The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 393 

struck by this spectacle of remorse, lamented with tearful voice and proclaimed themselves most worthless for having given themselves over to daily pleasures.

33He quite often did many things in this manner to despise himself perfectly and to provoke others to despise him. But when this most genuine despiser of self was justly praised by all, Lk 4:15 he alone still regarded himself as most vile, and marvelously used to ward off the people’s favor in public. Truly, when he heard that people were extolling him with their praise, taking this amiss, he would order, in strict obedience, one of the brothers at his side to speak abusively to him with insulting words, in order to express words of truth against the lies of those praising him. When this brother, against his own will, called him a boor and a useless hired-hand, the most holy man would applaud agreeably and smile, responding to the brother who reproved him: “May the Lord bless you, Ps 128:5 [Vulgate, Ps 127:5] my dearest son, because you have spoken the truth, things that the son of Pietro di Bernardone ought to hear!”

Wishing to be considered perfectly vile by all, he did not shrink from confessing his sins in his public preaching. But if even a fleeting evil thought about someone crept up on him, he humbly asked that person’s forgiveness, confessing the very thought he had entertained. This shows, even in regard to fleeting thoughts, how this holy man avoided grumbling and back-biting. What more can be said? Seeking to attain the highest level of every kind of perfection, he used to avoid human favor by every means, so that, with his conscience as witness, he might possess the vessel of sanctification internally, and externally become, to himself, like a broken vessel. Ps 31:13 [Vulgate, Ps 30:13]




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

ad tam mirandum compuncti spectaculum lacrimabili nimirum voce lugerent, seseque miserrimos, veluti quotidianis voluptatibus deditos, proclamarent.

33 1Multa quoque in hunc modum saepius faciebat, ut et semetipsum perfecte contemneret, et ad sui contemptum caeteros provocaret. 2Sed et hic verissimus sui contemptor, cum non immerito magnificaretur ab omnibus, mirabiliter favorem hominum, solus se vilissimum reputans, arcebat pro foribus. 3Cum enim extolli se laudibus humanis audiret, alicui fratrum per obedientiam, graviter hoc ferens, iniunxit ut viliter ipsum a latere verbis contumeliosis afficeret, et adversus laudantium mendacia veritatis verba proferret. 4Quem dum frater invitus rusticum et mercenarium inutilem appellaret, sanctissimus ille iucundo applausu subrisit 5et sic exprobranti respondit: « Benedicat tibi Dominus, fili carissime, quia verissima loqueris, et talia filium Petri de Bernardone decet audire! ».

6Cupiens quoque se perfecte vilem ab omnibus reputari, peccata sua non erubuit in praedicatione publica confiteri; 7sed et, si quid sinistri surreperet levi cogitatione de aliquo, id ipsum eidem de quo cogitaverat confitens, humiliter veniam postulavit ab illo. 8Ex hoc ipso etiam leviter advertenti patebit, qualiter vir iste murmurationis et detractionis verba vitavit. 9Quid plura? In omni genere perfectionis usque ad summum apicem pertingere cupiens, favorem summopere devitabat humanum, 10et ut conscientia teste vas sanctificationis interius possideret, factus est sibimetipsi exterius tamquam vas perditum.</p

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 393