Pope Gregory IX - 359 

which the same person as if by an instrument of His Will accomplishes His gracious purpose.

Just as We, glorying in the Lord, contemplate Blessed Francis as the mirror for our contemporaries, who at the nod of the eternal King was suddenly transported from the thorn to the flower. Then putting all the artifice of the world behind him, he passed over to the cultivation of continual purity that had been given to him from above for faithfully managing the office of ambassador. Through the sign of the stigmata which clearly appeared to many trustworthy people He brought a grand increase of souls to the Son of the eternal Father when he instituted Three Orders throughout the breadth of the world, in which during every single day the All Powerful is rendered glorious in many ways. For within, as if unwillingly satisfied with the three branches, which the cup bearer of Pharaoh saw before himself in a dream, associations of the Order of Lesser Brothers, of the cloistered Sisters, and of Penitents were designed and dedicated to the worship of the Holy and Undivided Trinity; in the meantime they are offering flowers of laudable reputation and the grapes of honest living together, and the wine of a holy compunction is being poured out; for many of the community of the Faithful it is made clear that by serving the Lord in holiness and justice they may take hold of the prize of eternal happiness which was prepared from eternity for you, O most dear daughter in Christ, as We are confident from the Goodness of God.

For who of the faithful would not hold it as a fact that you, who once abounded in many delights and honors, became a poor handmaid and a humble Queen and that you will take hold of jewels of the everlasting treasure, which the most blessed virgin and martyr, Agnes, said she would pursue when she was at leisure to embrace the virtues? Who of those who fear God would not say with full lips that the excellence of the Redeemer would not have chosen you as his spouse when you were at leisure for virginal cleanliness?

Therefore, We ask for your devotion and We urge you in the Lord Jesus Christ, inasmuch as you are solicitous about these things, to make frequent use of the canticle of praise and she, trusting too much in the heavenly assembly, is known to have been provided for by Him as the angels rejoiced. You should strive to direct the sum of your attention to this without ceasing, that




Clare of Assisi: Early Documents, p. 359