The Legend of the Three Companions - 75 

he went alone inside, he left his companion outside, eager for the treasure. Inspired by a new and extraordinary spirit, he would pray to his Father in secret, Mt 6:6 wanting no one to know what was happening within except God alone, whom he consulted about acquiring heavenly treasure.

The enemy of the human race, observing him, strove to lure him from the good he had begun by striking fear and dread in him. There was in Assisi a deformed, hunchbacked woman, whom the devil, appearing to the man of God, recalled to him. He threatened to inflict him with her deformity unless he reneged on the plan he had conceived. But the very braveknight of Christ, 2 Tm 2:3 shunning the devil's threats, prayed all the more fervently within the cave that God would direct his path.

He endured great suffering and mental anxiety, unable to rest until he accomplished in action what he had conceived in mind. Different thoughts followed one after the other, and their relentlessness disturbed him even more severely. For he was burning inwardly with a divine fire, unable to conceal outwardly the flame kindled in his soul. He repented that he had sinned so grievously. While his past and present transgressions no longer delighted him, he was not yet fully confident of refraining from future ones. This is why, when he emerged from the cave, he seemed to his companion to have changed into a different man.

Chapter V
HOW THE CRUCIFIX SPOKE TO HIM FOR THE FIRST TIME AND HOW HE HENCEFORTH CARRIED THE PASSION OF CHRIST
IN HIS HEART UNTIL DEATH

13One day, when he was more passionately begging for the Lord's mercy, the Lord showed him that he would be told in the near future what he must do. From that moment on, he was filled with such great joy, that, failing to restrain himself in the face of happiness, he carelessly mentioned some of his secrets to others. He nevertheless spoke cautiously and in riddles, saying that he did not want to go to Apulia, but that he would accomplish great and noble deeds at home.

His companions noticed the change in him, indeed he was already estranged from them in his thoughts, even though he sometimes joined their company. And so they asked him as a joke: "Francis, do you want to get married?" He replied to them in a riddle, as we mentioned above.

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1384-1385


3Quem Franciscus ad quamdam cryptam iuxta Assisium saepe ducebat, et ipsam solus intrans sociumque de thesauro habendo sollicitum foris relinquens, novo ac singulari spiritu perfusus Patrem in abscondito exorabat, cupiens neminem scire quid ageret intus, praeter solum Deum quem de caelesti thesauro habendo assidue consulebat.

4Quod attendens humani generis inimicus ipsum ab incepto bono retrahere nititur ei timorem incutiens et horrorem. 5Nam quaedam mulier erat Assisii gibbosa deformiter quam daemon, viro Dei apparens, sibi ad memoriam reducebat, etcomminabatur eidem quod gibbositatem illius mulieris iactaret in ipsum nisi a concepto proposito resiliret. 6Sed Christi miles fortissimus, minas diaboli vilipendens, intra cryptam devote orabat ut Deus dirigeret viam suam.

7Sustinebat autem maximam passionem et anxietatem mentis, non valens quiescere donec opere compleret quod mente conceperat, cogitationibus variis invicem succedentibus quarum importunitas eum durius perturbabat. 8Ardebat enim interius igne divino, conceptum mentis ardorem deforis celare non valens, poenitebatque ipsum peccasse tam graviter nec iam eum mala praeterita vel praesentia delectabant, nondum tamen receperat continendi fiduciam a futuris. 9Propterea cum extra cryptam exibat, ad socium mutatus in virum alterum videbatur.

Caput V
De prima allocutione Crucifixi ad ipsum
et qualiter ex tunc portavit in corde passionem Christi
usque ad mortem.

13 1Quadam vero die, cum misericordiam Domini ferventius imploraret, ostendit illi Dominus quod sibi diceretur in proximo quid ipsum agere oporteret. 2Ex tunc autem tanto repletus est gaudio, quod non se capiens prae laetitia, etiam nolens, de huiusmodi secretis aliquid in aures hominum eructabat. 3Caute tamen et in aenigmate loquebatur, dicens se in Apuliam nolle ire sed in patria propria nobilia, et ingentia se facturum.

4Ut autem socii eius viderent eum ita mutatum, a quibus iam erat elongatus mentaliter licet adhuc corporaliter aliquando sociaretur eisdem, quasi ludendo rursum interrogant eum: « Visne uxorem ducere, Francisce? ». 5Quibus respondit sub quodam aenigmate, sicut superius est praemissum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 75

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