The Life of Blessed Francis - 587 

that he seemed like a mother
who was daily bringing them to birth in Christ.
And this was the principal reason for revering
ministers of God's word:
they raise up seed for their deceased brother, a
Christ, crucified particularly for sinners,
and, with pious concern for their conversion,
they guide them with concerned piety.

He maintained that a service of this kind of care was more acceptable to the Father of mercies 2 Cor 1:3 than every sacrifice, especially if it were undertaken with the eagerness of perfect charity. Thus it should be done more by example than by word, more by tear-filled prayer than by long-winded sermons.

2In the same way he said that a preacher must be wept over, as over someone without real piety, who in preaching seeks not the salvation of souls, but his own praise, or who destroys with the depravity of his life what he builds up with the truth of teaching. He said that a simple tongue-tied brother must be preferred who challenges others to good by his good example. And so he would explain that passage So that the barren has borne many in this sense: "The barren one," he said, "is the poor little brother who does not have the duty of producing children in the Church. At the judgment he will give birth to many children, for then the Judge will credit to his glory those he is converting now to Christ by his secret prayers. She who has many children will languish, because the vain and long-winded preacher, who rejoices over many now as if they were born through his power, will discover then that he has nothing of his own in them."

3Therefore,
he yearned with heartfelt piety
and burned with ardent zeal
for the salvation of souls.
He would say
that he was filled with the sweetest fragrance Ex 29:18
and
as if anointed with precious ointment Jn 12:3
whenever he heard
of many people being converted to the way of truth

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 843-844


ut eas tamquam mater
in Christo quotidie parturiret.
4Et haec penes ipsum causa praecipua venerandi
verbi Dei ministros,
quod semen fratri suo defuncto,
Christo videlicet pro peccatoribus crucifixo,
per ipsorum conversionem et pia sollicitudine suscitent,
et sollicita pietate gubernent.

5Istiusmodi miserationis officium Patri misericordiarum omni sacrificio firmabat acceptius, maxime si studio fuerit perfectae caritatis impensum, ut ad id laboretur magis exemplo quam verbo, magis lacrimosa prece quam loquaci sermone.

2 1Plangendum proinde dicebat praedicatorem tamquam vera pietate privatum, sive qui in praedicatione non animarum quaerit salutem, sed propriam laudem, sive qui pravitate destruit vitae quod aedificat veritate doctrinae. 2Praeferendum huic dicebat fratrem simplicem et elinguem, qui bono exemplo alios provocaret ad bonum. 3Illud quoque verbum: Donec sterilis peperit plurimos, taliter exponebat: « Sterilis », inquit, « est frater pauperculus, qui generandi in Ecclesia filios non habet officium. 4Hic pariet in iudicio plurimos, quia quos nunc privatis orationibus convertit ad Christum, suae gloriae tunc iudex adscribet. 5Quae multos habet filios infirmabitur, quia praedicator vanus et loquax, qui multis nunc quasi sua virtute genitis gaudet, cognoscet tunc, se nil proprii habere in eis ».

3 1Cum igitur
animarum salutem
viscerosa pietate appeteret
et fervida aemulatione zelaret,
suavissimis se dicebat
repleri odoribus
et quasi unguento pretioso liniri,
cum sanctorum fratrum per orbem distantium odorifera fama
multos audiret ad viam veritatis induci.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 587

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