The Life of Blessed Francis - 614 

3The spirit of prophecy, too, so shone forth in him that he foresaw the future,
contuited the secrets of the heart,
knew of events from afar as if they were present,
and miraculously appeared present to those who were absent.a

For at the time when the Christian army was besieging Damietta,b the man of God was there, armed not with weapons, but with faith. When Christ's servant heard that the Christians were preparing for war on the day of the battle, he sighed deeply and said to his companion: "If a clash of battle is attempted, the Lord has shown me that it will not go well for the Christians. But if I say this, they will take me for a fool; if I keep silent, my conscience won't leave me alone. What do you think I should do?" His companion replied: "Brother, don't give the least thought to how people judge you. This won't be the first time people took you for a fool. Unburden your conscience, and fear God rather than men."

When he heard this, the herald of Christ leapt to his feet, and rushed to the Christians crying out warnings to save them, forbidding war, and threatening disaster. But they took the truth as a joke. They hardened their hearts and refused to turn back. The whole Christian army charged, attacked, and retreated fleeing from the battle carrying not triumph but shame. The number of Christians was diminished by such a great massacre, that about six thousand were either dead or captured.

From this
it was abundantly clear
that the wisdom of the poor man was not to be scorned;
since sometimes the soul of a just man will declare truths
more clearly than seven sentinels
searching the horizon from a height.

4At another time, after his return from overseas, he went to Celano to preach; and a certain knight invited him very insistently, with humble devotion, to dine with him. So he came to the knight's home and the whole family delighted at the arrival of the poor

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 870-871


3 1Adeo etiam in ipso claruit spiritus prophetiae,
ut et praevideret futura
et cordium contueretur occulta,
absentia quoque velut praesentia cerneret
et se praesentem absentibus mirabiliter exhiberet.

2Tempore namque, quo Damiatam Christianorum obsidebat exercitus, aderat vir Dei, non armis sed fide munitus. 3Cum igitur die belli Christiani pararentur ad pugnam, hoc audito, Christi servus vehementer ingemuit, 4dixitque socio suo: « Si belli fuerit attemptatus congressus, ostendit mihi Dominus non prospere cedere Christianis; 5verum, si hoc dixero fatuus reputabor, si tacuero conscientiam non evadam. Quid ergo tibi videtur? ». 6Respondit socius eius dicens: « Frater, pro minimo tibi sit ut ab hominibus iudiceris, quia non modo incipis fatuus reputari. 7Exonera conscientiam tuam et Deum magis time quam homines ».

8Quo audito exsiliens Christi praeco salutaribus monitis Christianos aggreditur, prohibet bellum, denuntiat casum. 9Fit veritas in fabulam, induraverunt cor suum et noluerunt reverti. 10Itur, committitur et bellatur, totaque in fugam vertitur militia christiana, finem belli opprobrium regerens, non triumphum. 11Tanta vero strage Christianorum imminutus est numerus ut circa sex millia fuerint inter mortuos et captivos.

12In quo
evidenter innotuit,
quod spernenda non erat sapientia pauperis;
cum anima viri iusti enuntiet aliquando vera,
quam septem, circumspectores sedentes
in excelso ad speculandum.

4 1Alio quoque tempore, cum post reversionem ipsius de ultra mare Celanum praedicaturus accederet, miles quidam supplici eum devotione cum instantia magna invitavit ad prandium. 2Venit itaque ad militis domum, omnisque familia pauperum hospitum exsultavit ingressu.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 614

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