The Minor Legend - 688 

was not afraid nor did he stop singing, inasmuch as a half-naked and penniless wayfarer he, like the apostles, rejoiced in tribulation. 2 Cor 7:4 Then as a lover of total humility he gave himself to the service of lepers, so that while he was subjecting himself to miserable and outcast people under the yoke of servitude, he could first learn perfect contempt of himself and of the world before he would teach it to others. Surely, since he used to fear lepers more than any other group of people, grace was given to him in more abundance. He moved to the lepers and gave himself up to their service with such a humble heart that he washed their feet, bandaged their sores, drew the puss from wounds, and wiped the filth from them. In an excess of unheard of fervor, he would fall down to kiss their ulcerous sores, putting his mouth to the dust, so that, filled with reproaches, he might efficaciously subject the pride of the flesh to the law of the spirit and, once the enemy within him was subdued, possess peaceful dominion over himself.

Ninth Lesson

Thereafter, Francis was grounded in the humility of Christ and made rich in his poverty.a Even though he possessed absolutely nothing, he, nevertheless, began to turn his careful attention to rebuilding the church according to the command given to him from the cross. Although his body was weakened by fasting and bore the burdens of the stone, he did not shrink from earnestly begging the help of alms even from those among whom he had been accustomed to live as a rich man. With the devoted assistance of the faithful, who now began to realize the remarkable virtue this man of God possessed, he restored not only the church of San Damiano, but also the abandoned and ruined churches of the Prince of the Apostles and of the glorious Virgin. He mysteriously foreshadowed, by an exteriorly perceptible work, what the Lord disposed to do through him in the future. For according to the likeness of the threefold buildings he built up under the guidance of the holy man himself, the Church was to be renewed in three ways according to the form, rule, and teaching of Christ. The voice from the Cross, which repeated three times the command concerning the rebuilding of the house of God, stands out as a prophetic sign. We recognize now that it is fulfilled in the three Orders established by him.




Legenda Minor, Fontes Franciscani, p. 971-972

magni Regis praeco non timuit, nec a laude cessavit, 2utpote qui viator seminudus et vacuus erat et apostolico more in tribulatione gaudebat. 3Exinde totius humilitatis amator ad obsequendum leprosis se transtulit, ut dum miserabilibus et abiectis personis servitutis iugo se subderet, sui mundique contemptum perfecte prius disceret quam doceret. 4Et quidem cum prius eos super omne hominum genus horrere soleret, diffusa in eum copiosius gratia, corde tam humili se illorum mancipavit obsequiis quod et lavabat pedes et ligabat ulcera et educebat putredinem et saniem abstergebat. 5Inauditi quoque fervoris excessu ulcerosarum plagarum ruebat in oscula, os suum ponens in pulvere, ut saturatus opprobriis, carnis supercilium legi spiritus potestative subiceret suique dominium, hoste subacto domestico, pacifice possideret.

Lectio nona.

9 1Igitur cum iam esset in Christi humilitate fundatus ac paupertate dives effectus, quamquam nil prorsus haberet, reparationi tamen ecclesiae, iuxta datum sibi e cruce mandatum, adeo sollicite coepit intendere, ut et corpus attritum ieiuniis oneribus lapidum subderet et eleemosynarum subsidia etiam ab illis non abhorreret deposcere, apud quos consueverat abundare. 2Devotione quoque sibi assistente fidelium, qui praeclaram in viro Dei iam coeperant nosse virtutem, non solum Sancti Damiani, verum etiam principis Apostolorum et Virginis gloriosae ruinosas et derelictas resarcivit ecclesias, ut, quae per eum in posterum Dominus spiritualiter operari disponeret, sensibili foris opere mysterialiter praesignaret. 3Nam instar reparatae triplicis fabricae ipsius sancti viri ducatu, secundum datam ab eo formam, regulam et doctrinam Christi triformiter renovanda erat Ecclesia, 4sicut et vox ad eum facta de cruce, tertio replicans de domus Dei reparatione mandatum, praeambulum exstiterat signum, et nunc in tribus ab eo institutis Ordinibus cernimus esse completum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 688