The Life of Blessed Francis - 615 

guests. Before they took any food, the man offered prayers and praise to God as was his custom, standing with his eyes raised to heaven. When he finished his prayer, he called his kind host aside and confidentially told him: "Look, brother host, overcome by your prayers, I have entered your home to eat. Now heed my warnings quickly because you shall not eat here but elsewhere. Confess your sins right now, contrite with the sorrow of true repentance; and leave nothing in you unconfessed that you do not reveal in a true confession. The Lord will reward you today for receiving His poor with such devotion." The man agreed to the saint's words without delay; and telling all of his sins in confession to his companion, he put his house in order and did everything in his power to prepare for death. Then they went to the table; and while the others began to eat, suddenly their host breathed forth his spirit, carried away by sudden death according to the words of the man of God.

In recompense for the kindness of his hospitality,
it happened according to the word of Truth that
because he had received a prophet,
he received a prophet's reward.

Through the prophetic warning of the holy man,
that devout knight prepared himself for a sudden death
so that, protected by the armor of repentance,
he escaped perpetual damnation
and entered into the eternal dwellings.

5At the time, while the holy man lay sick in Rieti, a canon named Gedeone, a lustful and worldly man, was seized by a grave illness and was bedridden. When he had himself carried to him, he, together with those present, tearfully begged to be marked by him with that sign of the cross. "How can I sign you with the cross," he asked, "when you once lived according to the desires of the flesh, with no fear of the judgments of God? Because of the devout requests of those pleading for you, however, I will sign you with the sign of the cross in the name of the Lord. But you must know you will suffer worse things, if, once set free, you return to your vomit. Prv 26:11 Because of the sin of ingratitude things worse than the first Mt 12:45 are always inflicted. When he made the sign of the cross over him, immediately the man who was lying crippled got up restored to health, and bursting with praise of God cried: "I am free!" Many people there heard the bones of his hips cracking as when someone snaps dry twigs with his hands. But after a short time, the canon, forgetting God, turned his body back to its unchaste ways.

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 871-873


Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 615

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