The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 189 

cloth to sell, he quickly came to a city called Foligno.a There after selling everything he brought in his usual way, this successful merchant even left behind the horse he was riding, when he had obtained his price. Starting back, he put down his bags and pondered conscientiously what to do about the money. In a wonderful way, in an instant, he turned completely to the work of God. Feeling the heavy weight of carrying that money even for an hour, and reckoning all its benefit to be like so much sand, he hurried to get rid of it. Returning toward the city of Assisi, he came across a church on the side of the road. It had been built in ancient times in honor of Saint Damian and was threatening to collapse because of age.b

9 Arriving at this church, the new soldier of Christ, 2 Tm 2:3 aroused by piety at such a great need, entered it with awe and reverence.c He found a poor priest there, kissed his holy hands with great devotion, offered him the money he was carrying and explained his purpose in great detail.d

The priest was astounded and, surprised at this sudden conversion in incredible circumstances, he refused to believe what he was hearing. Because he thought he was being mocked, he refused to keep the money offered to him. It seemed to him that Francis, just the day before, was living outrageously among his relatives and acquaintances Lk 2:44 and exalting his stupidity Prv 14:29 above others. But Francis stubbornly persisted and endeavored to create confidence in his words. He pleaded, begging the priest with all his heart to allow him to stay with him for the




Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 284-285

assumptisque secum pannis scarulaticis ad vendendum, ad civitatem quae Fulgineum vocatur, festinus devenit. 4Ibi ex more venditis omnibus quae portabat, caballum cui tunc insederat, felix mercator, assumpto pretio dereliquit, regressusque inde, depositis sarcinis, quid ageret de pecunia religiosa mente tractabat.5Mirum in modum mox totus in Dei opere conversus, gravatum valde se sentiens pecuniam illam vel una hora portare, ac velut arenam reputans omne illius emolumentum, ad deponendam illam cito festinat.6Cumque versus civitatem Assisii remearet, repperit iuxta viam quamdam ecclesiam, quae in honorem sancti Damiani fuerat antiquitus fabricata, sed casum proximum ex vetustate nimia minabatur.

9 1Ad quam novus Christi miles adveniens, pietate tantae necessitatis commotus, cum timore ac reverentia introivit. 2Et invento illie quodam paupere sacerdote, magnaque cum fide osculatis eius manibus sacris, pecuniam ei obtulit quam portabat, et propositum suum per ordinem enarravit.

3Obstupefactus sacerdos et, ultra quam credi potest, subitam rerum conversionem admirans, quae audiebat credere recusavit .4Et quia putabat illudi sibi, noluit apud se oblatam pecuniam retinere.5Viderat enim eum, ut ita dicam, pene altera die enormiter vivere inter cognatos et notos et supra caeteros suam stultitiam exaltare.6At ipse pertinacius persistens, verbis suis fidem facere nitebatur, orans enixius et deprecans sacerdotem, ut eum secum morari pro Domino pateretur.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 189