The Life of Blessed Francis - 609 

sweetness like nothing he felt before, and rapt in ecstasy, he totally fainted away into God. This lasted for a short time, and then he returned to his senses and realized the power of Saint Francis's prayer. From that time on, he always burned with ever greater love for the Order, and told many about this miraculous event.

6The holy man was accustomed to fulfill the canonical hours with no less reverence than devotion. Although he was suffering from diseases of the eyes, stomach, spleen, and liver, he nevertheless did not want to lean against a wall or partition while he was chanting the psalms. He always fulfilled the hours standing up straight and without a hood, without letting his eyes wander about and without dropping the syllables.

If he were on a journey, he would stop at the right time and never omitted this reverent and holy practice because it was raining. For he would say: "If the body calmly eats its food, which along with itself will be food for worms, should not the soul receive the food of life in great peace and tranquillity?"

He also thought that he had committed a serious offense if, while he was at prayer, he was distracted by empty imaginings. When such a thing would happen, he did not fail to confess it and immediately make amends. He had made such a habit of this carefulness, that he was rarely bothered by this kind of "flies."

One Lent he had been making one small cup to occupy any spare time so that it would not in any way be wasted. When he was saying terce, it came to his mind and distracted him a little. Moved by fervor of spirit, he burned the cup in the fire, saying: "I will sacrifice it to the Lord, whose sacrifice it had interrupted!"

He used to say the psalms with such attention of mind and spirit, as if he had God present. When the Lord's name occurred in the psalms, he seemed to lick his lips because of its sweetness.

He wanted to honor with special reverence the Lord's name not only when thought but also when spoken and written. He once persuaded the brothers to gather all pieces of paper wherever they were found and to place them in a clean place so that if that sacred name happened to be written there, it would not be trodden underfoot.a When he pronounced or heard the name Jesus, he was filled with an inner joy and seemed completely changed exteriorly as if some honey-sweet flavor had transformed his taste or some harmonious sound had transformed his hearing.

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 866-868


subito abbas insolitum calorem et dulcedinem hactenus inexpertam sensit in spiritu, ita quod in excessu mentis effectus, totus a se ipso in Deum defecit. 9Parva morula substitit, et in se reversus, virtutem orationis sancti Francisci cognovit. 10Maiore proinde circa Ordinem semper amore flagravit multisque factum pro miraculo retulit.

6 1Solitus erat vir sanctus horas canonicas non minus timorate Deo persolvere quam devote. 2Nam licet oculorum, stomachi, splenis et hepatis aegritudine laboraret, nolebat tamen muro vel parieti inhaerere, dum psalleret, sed horas semper erectus et sine caputio, non gyrovagis oculis, non cum aliqua syncopa persolvebat.

3Si quando esset in itinere constitutus, figebat tunc temporis gressum, huiusmodi consuetudinem reverentem et sacram propter pluviarum inundantiam non omittens. 4Dicebat enim: « Si quiete comedit corpus cibum suum, futurum cum ipso vermium esca, cum quanta pace ac tranquillitate accipere debet anima cibum vitae? ».

5Graviter etiam se putabat offendere, si quando orationi deditus, vanis phantasmatibus interius vagaretur. 6Cum aliquid tale accideret, non parcebat confessioni, quin illud protinus expiaret. 7Hoc studium sic in usum converterat, ut rarissime muscas huiuscemodi pateretur.

8Fecerat in quadragesima quadam vasculum unum, ut minutias temporis, ne omnino exciderent, occuparet. 9Quod cum dicenti Tertiam in memoriam veniens, paululum ipsius animum distraxisset: motus fervore spiritus, vasculum igne consumpsit, dicens: « Sacrificabo illud Domino, cuius sacrificium impedivit »

10Psalmos cum tanta mentis et spiritus attentione dicebat, quasi Deum praesentem haberet; 11et cum nomen Domini in ipsis occurreret, prae suavitatis dulcedine labia sua lingere videbatur.

12Ipsum quoque Domini nomen non solum cogitatum, verum etiam prolatum et scriptum, reverentia volens honorificare praecipua, fratribus persuasit aliquando, ut omnes schedulas scriptas, ubicumque repertas colligerent mundoque loco reponerent, ne forte sacrum illud nomen ibi scriptum contingeret conculcari. – 13Nomen autem Iesu cum exprimeret vel audiret, iubilo quodam repletus interius, totus videbatur exterius alterari ac si mellifluus sapor gustum, vel harmonicus sonus ipsius immutasset auditum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 609

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