The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 191 

ate it in the secrecy of the pit, and every service was provided to him in secret. He prayed with flowing tears a that the Lord would free him from the hands of those persecuting Ps 142:7 [Vulgate, Ps 141:7] his soul and that he could favorably fulfill his fervent wishes. Fasting and weeping, Jl 2:12 he earnestly prayed for the Savior's mercy, and, lacking confidence in his own efforts, he cast his care upon the Lord. Though staying in a pit and in darkness, he was imbued with an indescribable happiness never before experienced. Then totally on fire, he abandoned the pit and openly exposed himself to the curses of his persecutors.

11He rose, therefore, swift, energetic and eager, carrying the shield of faith Eph 6:16 for the Lord, and strengthened with the armor of great confidence, he set out for the city.b Burning with holy fervor, he began to accuse himself of idleness and sloth.

When all those who knew him saw him, they compared his latest circumstances with his former and they began to reproach him harshly.c Shouting that he was insane and out of his mind, they threw mud from the streets and stones at him. They saw him as changed from his earlier ways and weakened by starving his body. They blamed everything he did on starvation and madness.

But since the patient person is better than the proud Eccl 7:9, God's servant showed himself deaf to all of them, and neither broken nor changed by any wrong to himself he gave thanks to God for all of them.

For in vain do the wicked persecute those striving for virtue,
for the more they are stricken, the more fully will they triumph.
As someone says, "Disgrace makes a noble mind stronger."d

12 For some time rumor and gossip of this sort raced through the streets and quarters of the city Sg 3:2, and the noise of that ridicule echoed here and there. The report of these things reached the ears of many, finally reaching his father. When he heard the name of his own son men-




Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 286-288

in foveae occulto edebat eum, et clandestinum ei omne impendebatur obsequium. 6Oransque orabat iugiter lacrimarum imbre perfusus, ut liberaret eum Dominus de manibus persequentium animam suam, et ut pia vota sua benigno favore compleret: in ieiunio et fletu exorabat clementiam Salvatoris, et de sua diffidens industria, totum iactabat in Domino cogitatum. Et licet esset in fovea et in tenebris constitutus, perfundebatur tamen indicibili quadam laetitia sibi hactenus inexperta, ex qua totus ignescens, relicta fovea, palam se persecutorum exposuit maledictis.

11 1Surrexit itaque protinus impiger, festinus et alacer et ad praeliandum pro Domino scutum fidei praeferens, magnaeque fiduciae armis munitus, versus civitatem aggressus est viam et, divino calore succensus, coepit semetipsum segnitiei et ignaviae plurimum incusare.

2Quo viso, cuncti qui noverant eum, comparantes ultima, primis, coeperunt illi miserabiliter exprobrare et insanum ac dementem acclamantes, lutum platearum et lapides in ipsum proiciunt.3Cernebant eum a pristinis moribus alteratum et carnis maceratione valde confectum, et ideo totum quod agebat exinanitioni et dementiae imputabant. —

4Sed quia melior est patiens arrogante , famulus Dei surdum his omnibus se praestabat et nulla fractus aut mutatus iniuria, pro his omnibus gratias Domino referebat. —

5In vanum namque iniquus persequitur ad honesta tendentem,
quia quanto plus fuerit ille concussus, tanto fortius triumphabit.
Generosum animum, ait quidam, dedecus efficit fortiorem.

12 1Cumque diu rumor ac plausus huiusmodi de ipso per plateas ac vicos discurreret civitatis o et huc atque illuc illudentium sonitus resultaret, inter multos quorum tetigit aures, horum fama tandem pervenit ad patrem.2Qui cum audisset filii sui nomen,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 191