The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 229 

heart. In every type of praiseworthy deed he wished to be outstanding, but to go unnoticed. In every way he fled praise to avoid all vanity.


Woe to us who have now lost you,
O worthy father,
model of all kindness and humility!
Since we did not strive to know you when we had you,
we have lost you by a just judgment! Dt 16:18

Chapter XX
THE DESIRE TO UNDERGO MARTYRDOM WHICH TOOK HIM FIRST TO SPAIN AND THEN JOURNEYING TO SYRIA; AND HOW GOD SAVED SAILORS FROM DANGER, MULTIPLYING THEIR SUPPLY OF FOOD

55 Burning with divine love,
the blessed father Francis was always eager
to try his hand at brave deeds, Prv 31:19
and walking in the way of God's commands
with heart wide-open,
he longed to reach the summit of perfection.


In the sixth year of his conversion, burning with the desire for holy martyrdom, he wished to take a ship to the region of Syria to preach the Christian faith and repentance to the Saracens and other unbelievers.a But after he had boarded a ship to go there, contrary winds started blow- ing, and he found himself with his fellow travelers on the shores of Slavonia.b

When he realized that he had been cheated of what he desired, after a little while he begged some sailors going to Ancona to take him with them, since there were hardly any ships that could sail that year to Syria. But the sailors stubbornly refused to do so since he could not pay them. The holy one of God, trusting God's goodness, secretly boarded the ship with his companion. By divine providence, a man arrived unknown to anyone, who brought the food needed. He called over a person

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 328-329


donec vulnus mentis mulcendo sanaret. 4In omni certe genere notabilium proficere, non prospici cupiebat, modis omnibus fugiens admirationem, ne umquam incurreret vanitatem.

5Heu nobis, qui sic te amisimus,
digne pater,
totius beneficientiae ac humilitatis exemplar:
iusto quippe iudicio amisimus,
quem habentes cognoscere non curavimus!

Caput XX — De desiderio quo ad suscipiendum martyrium ferebatur Hispaniam primo, deinde Syriam deambulans, et quomodo Deus per eum nautas de periculo, multiplicatis cibariis, liberavit.

551Amore divino fervens,
beatissimus pater Franciscus studebat semper
ad fortia mittere manum,
et dilatato corde
viam mandatorum Dei ambulans,
perfectionis summam attingere cupiebat.

2Sexto namque conversionis suae anno, sacri martyrii desiderio maxime flagrans, ad praedicandam fidem christianam et poenitentiam Saracenis et caeteris infidelibus, ad partes Syriae voluit transfretare.3Qui cum navem quamdam, ut illuc tenderet, intravisset, ventis contrariis flantibus, in partibus Sclavoniae cum caeteris navigantibus se invenit.

4Videns autem a tanto desiderio se fraudatum, facto modico temporis intervallo, nautas quosdam Anconam tendentes, ut eum secum ducerent exoravit, quoniam eo in anno vix ulla navis potuit ad partes Syriae transmeare.5Verum illis hoc agere pertinacius recusantibus propter expensarum defectum, sanctus Dei confidens plurimum de Domini bonitate, navem latenter cum socio introivit.6Adfuit, divina providentia, tunc quidam, omnibus ignorantibus, secum necessaria victus ferens, qui quemdam Deum timentem de navi ad se vocavit et ait ad eum:

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 229