The Legend of the Three Companions - 81 

Chapter VII
THE HARD WORK AND FATIGUE
INVOLVED IN RESTORING THE CHURCH OF SAN DAMIANO
AND HOW HE BEGAN TO OVERCOME HIMSELF
BY GOING OUT FOR ALMS

21Therefore, Francis, the servant of God, stripped of all that is of the world, is free for divine justice and, despising his own life, he gives himself to divine service in every way he can.d

Returning to the church of San Damiano, joyful and eager, he made a hermit's habit for himself, and comforted the priest of that church with the same words with which the bishop had comforted him.

Then, getting up and going back to the city, he began to praise the Lord throughout the piazzas and neighborhoods, like one inebriated with the Spirit. When he finished praising the Lord in this way, he turned to obtaining stones for the repair of the church. "Whoever gives me one stone," he would say, "will have one reward. Whoever gives me two, will have two rewards. Whoever gives me three, will have that many rewards."

Thus, burning with enthusiasm, he also made many other simple statements. Because he was unlettered and simple,b the man chosen by God did not speak in the learned words of human wisdom, but in everything was quite simple. Many ridiculed him thinking he was mad, while others, prompted by piety, were moved to tears seeing how quickly he had come from such pleasure and worldly vanity to such an intoxication of divine love. Disregarding their scorn, he thanked God with burning enthusiasm.

It would be long and difficult to relate how he worked on the project, for he, who had been very refined in his father's house, hauled stones on his own shoulders, afflicting himself greatly in the service of God.

22The priest judged the work to be beyond his strength, even though he was offering himself so enthusiastically to divine service. Although poor himself, he obtained special food for Francis, for he knew that, while he was in the world, he had lived rather delicately. Of course, as the man of God later admitted, he would frequently enjoy delicacies and sweets, and refrain from disagreeable foods.

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1393-1395


Caput VII
De maximo labore et afflictione
ipsius pro reparatione ecclesiae Sancti Damiani
et qualiter coepit vincere seipsum
eundo pro eleemosyna.

21 1Servus igitur Dei Franciscus, nudatus ab omnibus quae sunt mundi, divinae vacat iustitiae propriamque vitam contemnens divino servitio se mancipat modis omnibus quibus potest.

2Revertensque ad ecclesiam Sancti Damiani gaudens et fervens, fecit sibi quasi heremiticum habitum, et sacerdotem illius ecclesiae confortavit eodem sermone quo ipse fuerat ab episcopo confortatus.

3Deinde, surgens et introiens civitatem coepit per plateas et vicos, tanquam ebrius spiritu, Dominum collaudare. 4Finita vero huiusmodi collaudatione Domini, ad acquirendos lapides pro reparatione dictae ecclesiae se convertit 5dicens: « Qui mihi dederit unum lapidem, unam habebit mercedem. 6Qui autem duos dederit, duas habebit mercedes. 7Qui vero tres, totidem mercedes habebit ».

8Sic et multa alia verba simplicia in fervore spiritus loquebatur, quia idiota et simplex, electus a Deo, non in doctis humanae sapientiae verbis, sed c simpliciter in omnibus se habebat. 9Multi autem deridebant eum putantes ipsum insanum, alii vero, pietate commoti, movebantur ad lacrimas videntes eum de tanta lascivia et saeculi vanitate ad tantam ebrietatem divini amoris tam cito venisse. 10At ipse, derisiones contemnens, in spiritus fervore Deo gratias referebat.

11Quantum vero laboraverit in opere supradicto, longum et difficile esset narrare, ipse enim, qui tam delicatus fuerat in domo paterna, propriis humeris lapides ferebat in Dei servitio multipliciter se affligens.

22 1Sacerdos autem praedictus, considerans eius laborem quod scilicet tam ferventer ultra vires divino se obsequio manciparet, licet esset pauperculus, procurabat pro eo fieri aliquod speciale ad victum, sciebat autem ipsum delicate vixisse in saeculo. 2Quippe, ut ipse vir Dei postea confessus est, frequenter electuariis et confectionibus utebatur et a cibis contrariis abstinebat.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 81

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