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 The Legend of the Three Companions - 97 

proceeds from His will. In this way, knowing the Lord's will, We may accede to your desires."

50Once God's saint had prayed, as the Lord Pope suggested, the Lord spoke figuratively to him in spirit: "There was a little, poor and beautiful woman in a desert, whose beauty fascinated a great king. He wanted to take her as his wife, because he thought that, from her, he would have handsome sons. After the marriage was celebrated and consummated, there were many sons born and raised. Their mother spoke to them in this way: ‘My sons, do not be ashamed, for you are sons of the king. Therefore, go to his court and he will provide for all your needs.' When they went to see the king, he was struck by their good looks, and noticing a resemblance to himself in them, he asked them: ‘Whose sons are you?' When they answered that they were the sons of the little poor woman living in the desert, the king embraced them with great joy. ‘Do not be afraid,' he said, ‘for you are my sons. If strangers are fed at my table, how much more will you, who are my lawful sons.' He then ordered the woman to send to his court all of the children she had borne to be fed."

When these things had been shown to blessed Francis while he was praying, the man of God understood that the poor woman signified him.

51After he completed his prayer, he presented himself to the Supreme Pontiff and narrated point-by-point the story that the Lord had revealed to him. "My lord," he said, "I am that little poor woman whom the loving Lord, in His mercy, has adorned, and through whom He has been pleased to give birth to legitimate sons. The King of kings had told me that He will nourish all the sons born to me, because, if He feeds strangers, He must provide for His own. For if God gives temporal goods to sinful men out of love for providing for His children, how much more will He give to Gospel men who deserve these things out of merit."

On hearing this, the pope was greatly amazed, especially since, before blessed Francis's arrival, he had seen in a vision the church of Saint John Lateran threatening to collapse, and a religious, small and of shabby appearance, supporting it on his own shoulders.a When he awoke, stunned and shaken, as a discerning and wise man,




Legenda Trium Sociorum, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1422-1423

« Fili, vade et ora Deum ut tibi revelet si id quod quaeritis de sua voluntate procedit, quatenus nos scientes Domini voluntatem, tuis desideriis annuamus ».

50 1Orante itaque sancto Dei, sicut ei suggesserat dominus papa, locutus est ei Dominus in spiritu per similitudinem dicens: « Quaedam mulier paupercula et formosa erat in quodam deserto, culus pulchritudinem rex quidam magnus admirans concupivit eam accipere in uxorem, quia putabat ex ipsa pulchros filios generare ». 2 « Contracto autem et consummato matrimonio, multi filii sunt geniti et adulti, quos mater sic alloquitur dicens: « Filii, nolite verecundari quia filii regis estis. 3Ite ergo ad curiam eius et ipse vobis omnia necessaria ministrabit ». 4Cum ergo venissent ad regem, miratus est rex eorum pulchritudinem, vidensque in eis suam similitudinem dixit illis: « Cuius estis filii? ». 5 « Cui cum respondissent se esse filios mulieris pauperculae in deserto morantis, rex cum magno gaudio amplexatus est eos dicens: « Nolite timere a, quia filii mei estis. 6Si enim de mensa mea nutriuntur extranei, multo magis vos qui estis mei legitimi ». 7Mandavit itaque rex mulieri praedictae ut omnes filios ex se susceptos ad suam curiam mitteret nutriendos ».

8His igitur sic ostensis per visum beato Francisco oranti, intellexit vir sanctus se per illam mulierem pauperculam designari.

51 1Et oratione completa repraesentavit se summo pontifici et exemplum, quod ei Dominus ostenderat, sibi per ordinem intimavit. 2Dixitque: « Ego sum, domine, illa mulier paupercula quam Dominus amans per suam misericordiam decoravit et ex ipsa placuit sibi filios legitimos generare. 3Dixit autem mihi rex regum quod omnes filios quos ex me generabit nutriet, quia si nutrit extraneos, bene debet legitimos nutrire. 4Si enim Deus peccatoribus donat bona temporalia propter nutriendorum filiorum amorem, multo magis viris evangelicis, quibus haec debentur ex merito, largietur ».

5His auditis, dominus papa miratus est vehementer, maxime quia ante adventum beati Francisci viderat in visione quod ecclesia Sancti Iohannis Lateranensis minabatur ruinam et quidam vir religiosus, modicus et despectus eam sustentabat, proprio dorso submisso. 6Evigilans vero stupefactus et territus, ut discretus et sapiens considerabat quid sibi vellet haec visio.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 97

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