The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 292 

overflowed with joy,
flooded with holy comfort.

122 But then there came a rapid change in events, as a new problem rose up in the world.a The joyful peace was quickly shaken as the torch of envy was lit and the Church was torn apart by internal warfare among its members. The Romans, that fierce and rebellious people, struck with their usual savagery against their neighbors and boldly stretched forth their hands against the holy places. 1 Mc 14:31 b The great Pope Gregory tried to restrain this rising evil, to control the savagery, and to stop the attacks, to safeguard the Church of Christ like a fortified tower. Danger multiplied, destruction increased, and in the rest of the world sinners lifted up their necks Ps 129:4 [Vulgate, Ps 128:4] in rebellion against God. What could he do? With great experience, he gauged the future and assessed the present, deciding to abandon the City to the rebels so as to free the world and defend it from more rebellion. He went to the city of Rieti, where he was received with fitting honor. From there he continued on to Spoleto, where everyone honored him with great reverence. He stayed there for several days to organize the Church’s cause. Then, accompanied by the venerable cardinals, he kindly paid a visit to the handmaids of Christ, dead and buried to the world.c Their holy way of life, their highest poverty, 2 Cor 8:2 and their renowned way of living moved him to tears along with his companions, encouraging them to despise worldly things and enkindling in them love for the life of chastity.

O lovable humility, nurse of all graces!
The prince of the whole world,
successor of the prince of the Apostles,
visits the poor women,
going to the lowly, humble and enclosed!

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 401-402


superabundat gaudio,
et sancta consolatione perfunditur.

122 1Sed fit subita conversio rerum, et nova interim causa emergit in mundo.2Turbatur protinus pacis iucundum, et exardescente invidiae face, domestico et intestino bello Ecclesia laceratur.3Romani, seditiosum hominum genus et ferox, in vicinos ex more desaeviunt, et temerarii ad sancta manus extendunt.4Studet egregius Papa Gregorius exortam compescere malitiam, saevitiam reprimere, impetum temperare, et velut munitissima turris Christi tuetur Ecclesiam.5Multa pericula ingruunt, exitia multa crebrescunt, et adversus Deum reliquo in orbe peccatorum cervix w erigitur.6Quid enim? Experientissime futura dimetiens, praesentia ponderans, seditiosis reliquit Urbem, ut orbem a seditionibus liberet et defendat.7Venit proinde ad civitatem Reatinam, ubi honorifice suscipitur sicut decet; inde progrediens Spoletum ab omnibus magna cum reverentia honoratur. 8Ubi paucis diebus commorans, causa Ecelesiae informata, comitantibus ipsum venerabilibus cardinalibus, ad Christi famulas, mundo mortuas et sepultas, benignus advenit.9Quarum conversatio sancta, paupertas altissima et institutio gloriosa ipsum cum reliquis movet ad lacrimas, ad contemptum provocat saeculi, ad caelibem vitam accendit.

10O amabilis omnium gratiarum nutrix humilitas!
11Princeps orbis terrarum,
successor principis apostolorum
visitat pauperculas mulieres,
accedit ad abiectas et humiles carceratas,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 292