The Life of Blessed Francis - 590 

Therefore of all that was given him to relieve the needs of his body,
he was accustomed to ask the permission of the donors
so that he could give it away
should he meet someone in greater need.
He spared nothing at all,
neither mantles nor tunics,
neither books nor even appointments of the altar:
all these he gave to the poor, when he could,
to fulfill his obligation of piety.
Frequently,
whenever he met poor people burdened with heavy loads,
he
would carry their burdens on his own weak shoulders.

6From a reflection on the primary source of all things,
filled with even more abundant piety,
he would call creatures,
no matter how small,
by the name of "brother" or "sister,"
because he knew they shared with him the same beginning.
However,
he embraced more affectionately and sweetly
those which display
the pious meekness of Christ in a natural likeness
and portray him in the symbols of Scripture.
He often paid to ransom lambs that were being led to their death,
remembering that most gentle Lamb
who willed to be led to slaughter to pay the ransom of sinners.a

One night when the servant of God was a guest at the monastery of San Verecondo in the diocese of Gubbio, a little sheep gave birth to a baby lamb. There was a very cruel sow there, which did not spare the life of the innocent, but killed it with her ravenous bite. When the pious father heard this, he was moved to remarkable compassion and, remembering the Lamb without stain, lamented for the dead baby lamb, saying in front of everyone: "Alas, brother lamb, innocent animal, always displaying Christ to people! Cursed be the pitiless one who killed you, and neither man nor beast shall eat of her!" It is amazing to tell! Immediately the vicious sow began to get sick and, after paying the bodily punishment for three days, finally suffered an avenging death. She was thrown into the mon-

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 846-847


14Propterea de omnibus, quae sibi dabantur ad necessitatem corporis relevandam,
solitus erat a dantibus licentiam petere,
ut licite posset,
si magis egenus occurreret, erogare.
15Nulli prorsus rei parcebat,
nec mantellis nec tunicis
nec libris nec etiam paramentis altaris,
quin omnia haec, dum posset,
ut pietatis impleret officium, indigentibus largiretur.
16Pluries,
cum oneratis obviaret in via pauperibus,
imbecilles humeros illorum oneribus supponebat.

6 1Consideratione quoque primae originis omnium
abundantiore pietate repletus,
creaturas quantumlibet parvas
fratris vel sororis
appellabat nominibus,
pro eo quod sciebat eas unum secum habere principium.
2Illas tamen
viscerosius complexabatur et dulcius,
quae Christi mansuetudinem piam similitudine naturali
praetendunt
et Scripturae significatione figurant.
3Redemit frequenter agnos, qui ducebantur ad mortem,
illius memor Agni mitissimi,
qui ad occisionem duci voluit pro peccatoribus redimendis.

4Hospitato quadam vice servo Dei apud monasterium Sancti Verecundi de episcopatu Eugubii, ovicula quaedam agniculum peperit illa nocte. 5Aderat sus ferocissima, quae vitae innocentis non parcens, rapaci eum morsu necavit. 6Hoc audito, pius pater mira compassione commotus et Agni sine macula recordatus, lamentabatur pro morte agniculi coram omnibus, 7dicens: « Heu me, frater agnicule, animal innocens, Christum hominibus repraesentans, maledicta sit impia, quae te interfecit, nullusque de ea comedat homo vel bestia ». 8Mirabile dictu! Statim infirmari coepit porca malefica et tribus diebus corpoream poenam exsolvens, ultricem tandem pertulit necem. 9Proiecta autem in vallum monasterii ibique longo tempore iacens,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 590

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