The Legend of the Three Companions - 84 

Chapter VIII
HEARING AND UNDERSTANDING
THE COUNSELS OF CHRIST IN THE GOSPEL,
HE IMMEDIATELY CHANGED HIS EXTERNAL GARB
AND PUT ON A NEW HABIT OF INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL PERFECTION

25While he was completing the church of San Damiano, blessed Francis wore the habit of a hermit: a staff in his hand, shoes on his feet, and a leather belt around his waist.

Then, one day at Mass, he heard those things which Christ tells the disciples who were sent out to preach, instructing them to carry no gold or silver, a wallet or a purse, bread, walking stick, or shoes, or two tunics. After understanding this more clearly because of the priest, he was filled with indescribable joy. "This," he said, "is what I want to do with all my strength."

And so, after committing to memory everything he had heard, he joyfully fulfilled them, removed his second garment without delay, and from then on never used a walking stick, shoes, purse, or wallet.He made for himself a very cheap and plain tunic, and, throwing the belt away, he girded himself with a cord.

Applying all the care of his heart to observe the words of new grace as much as possible, he began, inspired by God, to be a messenger of evangelical perfection and, in simple words, to preach penance in public. His words were neither hollow nor ridiculous, but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, penetrating the marrow of the heart, so that listeners were turned to great amazement.

26As he later testified, he learned a greeting of this sort by the Lord's revelation: "May the Lord give you peace!" Therefore, in all his preaching, he greeted the people at the beginning of his sermon with a proclamation of peace.

It is certainly astonishing, if not miraculous, that this greeting of peace was used before his conversion by a precursor who frequently went through Assisi greeting the people with "Peace and good! Peace and good!"a It seems plausible that, as John heralded Christ but withdrew when Christ began his mission of preaching, so too, like another John, this man preceded Francis in using the greeting of peace, but disappeared when he appeared.

Immediately, therefore, filled with the spirit of the prophets, the man of God, Francis, after that greeting, proclaimed peace,

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Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1398-1400


Caput VIII
Qualiter auditis et intellectis
consiliis Christi in Evangelio,
statim mutavit habitum exteriorem
et induit novum habitum perfectionis interius et exterius.

25 1Beatus itaque Franciscus, ecclesiae sancti Damiani perfecto iam opere, habitum heremiticum portabat, baculumque manu gestans pedibus calciatis et cinctus corrigia incedebat.

2Audiens autem quadam die inter missarum solemnia ea quae Christus discipulis ad praedicandum missis loquitur, ne scilicet auram vel argentum, nec sacculum vel peram, nec panem, nec virgam portent in via, nec calciamenta nec duas tunicas habeant, 3intelligensque haec postea clarius ab ipso presbytero, indicibili repletus gaudio: « hoc , inquit, est quod cupio totis viribus adimplere ».

4Igitur cunctis quae audierat commissis memoriae laetanter his adimplendis innititur, duplicibusque sine mora dimissis ex tunc iam virga, calciamentis, sacculo vel pera non utitur; 5faciens autem sibi tunicam, valde contemptibilem et incultam, reiecta corrigia, pro cingulo funem sumpsit.

6Omnem quoque sollicitudinem cordis novae gratiae verbis apponens qualiter illa posset opere perficere, coepit, instinctu divino, evangelicae perfectionis annunciator exsistere poenitentiamque simpliciter in publicum praedicare. 7Erant autem verba eius non inania nec risu digna, sed virtute Spiritus sancti plena, cordis medullas penetrantia, ita ut in stuporem vehementer converterent audientes.

26 1Sicut autem ipse postmodum testatus est, huiusmodi salutationem Domino revelante didicerat, videlicet: « Dominus det tibi pacem! ». 2Et ideo in omni praedicatione sua, pacem annuntians populum in praedicationis exordio salutabat.

3Et mirum certe, nec sine miraculo admittendum, quod ad hanc salutationem annunciandam, ante suam conversionem habuerat quemdam praecursorem qui frequenter iverat per Assisium salutando in hunc modum: « Pax et bonum! pax et bonum! ». 4De quo creditum est firmiter quod sicut Iohannes Christum praenuntians Christo incipiente praedicare defecit, ita et iste velut alter Iohannes beatum Franciscum praecessit in annuntiatione pacis qui etiam post adventum ipsius non comparuit sicut prius.

5Subito ergo, vir Dei Franciscus, spiritu prophetarum perfusus iuxta sermonem propheticum, statim post dictum suum praeconem annunciabat pacem,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 84

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