The Life of Blessed Francis - 596 

Chapter Nine

THE ARDOR OF CHARITY
AND THE DESIRE FOR MARTYRDOM

1Who would be competent to describe the burning charity
with which Francis, the friend of the Bridegroom, Jn 3:29 was aflame?
Like a thoroughly burning coal,
he seemed totally absorbed in the flame of divine love.
For as soon as he heard "the love of the Lord,"
he was excited, moved, and on fire
as if these words from the outside
were a pick strumming the strings of his heart on the inside.
He used to say that it was a noble extravagance
to offer such a treasure for alms
and that those who considered it less valuable than money
were complete fools,
because the priceless price of divine love alone
was sufficient to purchase the kingdom of heaven,
and
the love of him who loved us greatly
is greatly to be loved!

Aroused by everything to divine love,
he rejoiced in all the works of the Lord's hands
and through their delightful display

he rose into their life-giving reason and cause.
In beautiful things
he contuited Beauty itselfa
and through the footprints impressed in things
he followed his Beloved everywhere,

out of them all making for himself a ladder
through which
he could climb up to lay hold of him
who is utterly desirable. b
With an intensity of unheard devotion

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 596

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