The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 273 

True bravery knows no real limits of time,
for its hope of reward is eternal.

He burned with a great desire to return to his earliest steps toward humility; rejoicing in hope because of his boundless love, he planned to call his body back to its original servitude, although it had now reached its limit. Rom 12:12 He cut away completely the obstacle of all cares and silenced the noise of all concerns. When he had to relax this rigor because of illness, he used to say: “Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing; He did not consider that he had already attained his goal, but tireless in pursuit of holy newness, he constantly hoped to begin again. Phil 3:13

He wanted to return to serving lepers
and to be held in contempt, just as he used to be.
He intended to flee human company
and go off to the most remote places,
so that,
letting go of every care
and putting aside anxiety about others,
for the time being
only the wall of the flesh would stand between him and God.a

104 He saw many rushing for positions of authority. Despising their arrogance, he strove by his own example to call them back from such sickness. Indeed, he used to say that it was a good and acceptable thing in God’s sight to take care of others. He held it was appropriate for some to take on the care of souls as long as in this they sought nothing of their own will, but in all things constantly obeyed God’s will. Phil 2:21 Such people should consider in the first place their own salvation and aim for the growth of their subjects, not their applause. They should seek glory before God, not honor from people, never desiring but fearing the office of prelate. Rom 4:2 If given to them it would humble them, not exalt them; were it taken away, it would not leave them dejected, but uplifted.

He maintained it was dangerous to direct others and better to be directed, especially in these times when malice is growing so much and wickedness is increasing. 2 Thes 1:3 It hurt him that some had abandoned their

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 380-381


3Vera namque virtus temporis finem ignorat,
cum mercedis exspectatio sit aeterna.

4Flagrabat proinde desiderio magno valde ad humilitatis reverti primordia et prae amoris immensitate spe gaudens, corpus suum, licet ad tantam iam devenisset extremitatem, revocare cogitabat ad pristinam servitutem.5Amputabat a se penitus omnium curarum obstacula et cunctarum sollicitudinum strepitum plenissime compescebat .6Cumque infirmitatis suae occasione rigorem pristinum necessario temperaret, dicebat: « Incipiamus, fratres, servire Domino Deo, quia hucusque vix vel parum in nullo profecimus ».7Non arbitratur se adhuc comprehendisse et infatigabilis durans in sanctae novitatis proposito, semper inchoare sperabat.

8Volebat ad serviendum leprosis redire denuo,
et haberi contemptui, sicut aliquando habebatur.
9Hominum conversationem fugere proponebat,
et ad loca remotissima se conferre,
ut
sic exutus omni cura
et aliorum sollicitudine deposita,
solus carnis paries inter se et Deum interim separaret.

104 1Videbat enim multos ad magisterii regimina convolare, quorum temeritatem detestans, ab huiusmodi peste sui exemplo revocare studebat eos. —2Dicebat enim bonum fore coram Deo et acceptabile curam gerere aliorum, et sollicitudinem animarum aiebat eos suscipere decere, qui dumtaxat in ea nihil de suo quaererent sed divinam semper in omnibus attenderent voluntatem.3Qui videlicet propriae saluti nihil praeponerent et subditorum non applausus attenderent sed profectus, non coram hominibus pompam sed gloriam ante Deum;4qui praelationem non affectarent sed timerent; quos habita non extolleret sed humiliaret, et ablata non deiceret sed exaltaret.

5Sed praecipue in tempore hoc in quo tantum superexcrevit malitia et superabundavit iniquitas, periculosum dicebat regere, regi vero affirmabat utilius.6Dolebat quosdam prima opera reliquisse,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 273