The Life of Blessed Francis - 539 

5 Released now from the chains of all earthly desires,
this scorner of the world left the town
and in a carefree mood
sought the secret of solitudea
that alone and in silence
he would hear the mystery of the divine eloquence.

While Francis, the man of God, was making his way through a certain forest, singing with glee praises to the Lord in French, robbers suddenly rushed upon him from an ambush. When they asked who he was, the man of God, filled with confidence, replied in a prophetic voice: "I am the herald of the great King!" But they beat him and threw him into a ditch filled with snow, saying: "Lie there, you stupid herald of God!" After they left, he jumped out of the ditch, and exhilarated with great joy, he began in an even louder voice to make the woods resound with praises to the Creator of all.

6And coming to a certain neighboring monastery,b he asked for alms like a beggar and received it like someone unknown and despised. Setting out from there, he moved to Gubbio, where he was recognized and welcomed by an old friend and clothed with a poor little tunic, like one of Christ's little poor.

From there the lover of profound humility
moved to the lepers and lived with them,
serving them all most diligently for God's sake.
He washed their feet,
bandaged sores,
drew pus from wounds
and wiped away filth.
He who was soon to be a physician of the Gospel
even kissed their ulcerous wounds
out of his remarkable devotion.
As a result, he received such power from the Lord
that he had miraculous effectiveness
in healing spiritual and physical illnesses.

I will cite one case among many, which occurred after the fame of the man of God became more widely known.

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 790-792


5 1Solutus exinde mundi contemptor a vinculis mundanarum cupidinum,
civitate relicta,
securus et liber
secretum solitudinis petiit,
ut solus et silens
supernae audiret allocutionis arcanum.

2Dumque per silvam quamdam iter faciens, laudes Domino lingua Francorum vir Dei Franciscus decantaret cum iubilo, latrones super eum ex abditis irruerunt. 3Quibus ferali animo, quis esset, interrogantibus vir Dei, confidentia plenus, prophetica voce respondit: « Praeco sum, » inquiens, « magni Regis ». 4At illi percutientes eum, in defossum locum plenum nivibus proiecerunt, dicentes: « Iace, rustice praeco Dei! ». 5Ipse vero illis recedentibus exsilvit de fovea, magnoque exhilaratus gaudio, altiore coepit voce per nemora laudes Creatori omnium personare.

6 1Et veniens ad quoddam vicinum coenobium, eleemosynam petiit ut mendicus et recepit ut incognitus et despectus. 2Inde vero progrediens devenit Eugubium, ubi a quodam amico pristino agnitus et susceptus, paupere tunicula ut Christi pauperculus est contectus.

3Exinde totius humilitatis amator
se transtulit ad leprosos eratque cum eis,
diligentissime serviens omnibus propter Deum.
4Lavabat ipsorum pedes,
ligabat ulcera,
educebat plagarum putredinem
et saniem abstergebat;
5osculabatur etiam ex miranda devotione
ulcerosas plagas ipsorum,
evangelicus medicus mox futurus.
6Propter quod tantam est a Domino consecutus virtutem,
ut in spiritualibus et corporalibus morbis
mirabiliter expurgandis mirabilem efficaciam obtineret.

7Referam unum de multis, quod accidit, viri Dei fama postmodum latius clarescente.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 539

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