The Life of Blessed Francis - 536 

Chapter Two

HIS PERFECT CONVERSION TO GOD
AND HIS REPAIR OF THREE CHURCHESa

1 Because the servant of the Most High
had no other teacher in these matters
except Christ,
His kindness visited him once more
in the sweetness of grace.

For one day when Francis went out to meditate in the fields, he walked near the church of San Damiano which was threatening to collapse because of age. Impelled by the Spirit, he went inside to pray. Prostrate before an image of the Crucified, he was filled with no little consolation as he prayed. While his tear-filled eyes were gazing at the Lord's cross, he heard with his bodily ears a voice coming from that cross, telling him three times: "Francis, go and repair my house which, as you see, is all being destroyed."

Trembling, Francis was stunned at the sound of such an astonishing voice, since he was alone in the church; and as he absorbed the power of the divine words into his heart, he fell into an ecstasy of mind. At last, coming back to himself, he prepared himself to obey and pulled himself together to carry out the command of repairing the material church, although the principal intention of the words referred to that which Christ purchased with his own blood, as the Holy Spirit taught him and as he himself later disclosed to the brothers.

Then, after fortifying himself with the sign of the cross, he arose, and taking cloth to sell, he hurried off to a city called Foligno. There, after selling everything he had brought with him, even the horse he was riding, the successful merchant quickly returned with the price he had obtained. Returning to Assisi, he reverently entered the church he had received the command to repair. When he found the poor priest there, he showed him fitting reverence,

 Previous

Next 

 

Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 786-788


Caput II

De perfecta conversione eius ad Deum
et de reparatione trium ecclesiarum.

1 1Quoniam autem servus Altissimi
doctorem non habebat aliquem in huiusmodi
nisi Christum, addidit adhuc ipsius clementia eum
in gratiae visitare dulcedine.

2Dum enim die quadam, egressus ad meditandum in agro, deambularet iuxta ecclesiam. Sancti Damiani, quae minabatur prae nimia vetustate ruinam, et in eam, instigante se spiritu, causa orationis intrasset; prostratus ante imaginem Crucifixi, non modica fuit in orando spiritus consolatione repletus. 3Cumque lacrymosis oculis intenderet in dominicam crucem, vocem de ipsa cruce dilapsam ad eum corporeis audivit auribus, ter dicentem: « Francisce, vade et repara domum meam, quae, ut cernis, tota destruitur! ».

4Tremefactus Franciscus, cum esset in ecclesia solus, stupet ad tam mirandae vocis auditum, cordeque percipiens divini virtutem eloquii, mentis alienatur excessu. 5In se tandem reversus, ad obediendum se parat, totum se recolligit ad mandatum de materiali ecclesia reparanda, licet principalior intentio verbi ad eam ferretur, quam Christus suo sanguine acquisivit, sicut eum Spiritus sanctus edocuit, et ipse postmodum fratribus revelavit.

6Surrexit proinde, signo crucis se muniens, et assumptis pannis venalibus, ad civitatem quae Fulginium dicitur festinus accessit, ibique venditis quae portarat, equum cui tunc insederat, felix mercator, assumpto pretio, dereliquit; 7rediensque Assisium, ecclesiam de cuius reparatione mandatum acceperat, reverenter intravit et invento illic sacerdoti pauperculo reverentiam decentem exhibuit, ad reparationem ecclesiae et pauperum usum pecuniam obtulit,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 536

Hardcopies Available for Purchase