The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 206 

about your future, though it would please me more to remain silent, if charity did not compel me to tell you. I saw a great multitude Rv 7:9 of people coming to us, wishing to live with us in the habit of a holy way of life and in the rule of blessed religion. Listen! The sound of them is still in my ears, their coming and going according to the command of holy obedience. I seemed to see highways filled with this multitude gathering in this region from nearly every nation. Acts 2:5 Frenchmen are coming, Spaniards are hurrying, Germans and Englishmen are running, and a huge crowd speaking other languages is rapidly approaching."a

When the brothers heard this, they were filled with wholesome joy, either because of the grace which the Lord God had conferred on His holy one, or because they eagerly thirsted for the profit of their neighbors, whom they wanted to increase in number daily in order to be saved. Acts 2:47

28 And the holy man said to them: "So that we may give thanks °faithfully and devotedly°b to the Lord our God for all His gifts and that you may know how our present and future brothers should live, understand this truth about the course of things to come. In the beginning of our way of life together we will find fruit that is very sweet and pleasant. A little later fruit that is less pleasant and sweet will be offered. Finally, fruit full of bitterness Lam 1:20 will be served, which we will not be able to eat. Although displaying some outward beauty and fragrance, it will be too sour for anyone to eat. As I told you, the Lord certainly will make us grow into a great nation. Gn 12:2 But in the end it will turn out as follows: it is like a man who tosses his nets into the sea or a lake and catches a great number of fish. Lk 5:6 When he has loaded them all into his boat, he is reluctant to carry them all because of their great number. So he would pick out for his baskets the larger ones and those he likes, but the others he would throw out."

All these things the holy man of God predicted.
How brightly their truth shines!
How they came true in events is clear

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 301-302


2Ad vestrum quoque profectum dicere cogor quod vidi, quod et utique magis silere liberet, si charitas me non cogeret vobis referre. —3Vidi multitudinem magnam hominum ad nos venientium et in habitu sanctae conversationis beataeque religionis regula nobiscum volentium conversari. 4Et ecce adhuc sonitus eorum est in auribus meis, euntium et redeuntium secundum obedientiae sanctae mandatum. 5Vidi quasi vias, ipsorum multitudine plenas, ex omni fere natione in his partibus convenire.6Veniunt Francigenae, festinant Hispani, Teutonici et Anglici currunt, et aliarum diversarum linguarum accelerat maxima multitudo ».

7Quod cum audissent fratres, repleti sunt gaudio salutari, sive propter gratiam quam Dominus Deus contulerat sancto suo, sive quia proximorum lucra sitiebant ardenter, quos desiderabant, ut salvi essent in idipsum, quotidie augmentari.

281Et ait ad eos sanctus: « Ut 'fideliter et devote' Domino Deo nostro super omnia dona sua, fratres, gratias referamus, et ut sciatis qualiter cum praesentibus et futuris sit fratribus conversandum, futurorum processuum intelligite veritatem .2Inveniemus nunc in principio nostrae conversationis poma quaedam dulcia et suavia nimium ad edendum, sed paulo post quaedam minoris suavitatis ac dulcedinis offerentur:3postremo vero quaedam amaritudine plena, dabuntur, quibus non poterimus vesci, quoniam prae acerbitate sua erunt inesibilia universis, licet quamdam exteriorem olentiam ac pulchritudinem repraesentent .4Et vere, sicut vobis locutus sum, in magnam gentem nos Dominus augmentabit .5Sed ultimo sic eveniet, quemadmodum. si homo iactet retia sua in mare vel in aliquem lacum, et concludat piscium multitudinem copiosam o, et cum omnes miserit in naviculam suam, prae multitudine omnes portare fastidiens, eligat maiores et sibi placentes in vasis suis, caeteros autem foras emittat ».

6Haec omnia, quae sanctus Dei praedixit,
quanta veritate praefulgeant,
quanta se manifestatione aperiant,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 206

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