The Minor Legend - 714 

Chapter VII
THE PASSING OF DEATH

First Lesson

The man of God was now, fixed to the cross in both body and spirit. Just as he was being born aloft into God by the fire of seraphic love, he was also being transfixed by a fervid zeal for souls. He thirsted with the crucified Lord for the deliverance of all those to be saveda. Since he could not walk because of the nails protruding from his feet, he had his half-dead body carried through the towns and villages, Lk 8:1 so that like another angel ascending from the rising of the sun,b he might kindle the hearts of the servants of God with a divine flame of fire, direct Lk 1:79 their feet into the way of peace, and seal their foreheads with the sign of the living God. Rv 7:3 He burned with a great desire to return to the humility he practiced at the beginning, so that he might, just as he did at the outset, nurse lepers and treat his body once more like a slave that was already in a state of collapse from his work.

Second Lesson

With Christ as leader, he resolved to do great deeds, and although his limbs were weakening, he was strong and fervid in spirit, and he hoped for a victory over the enemy in a new struggle. In order that his merits might increase, for these are brought to perfection in patience, the little one of Christ started to suffer from various illnesses. The painful agony of suffering was diffused throughout his limbs, his flesh was all consumed, as if only skin clung to his bones. While he was tortured by harsh bodily suffering, he called those punishing conditions not by the name of "pains" but rather "sisters." He gave such praise and thanks to the Lord in the joyful bearing of them, that it seemed to the brothers taking care of him that they were looking upon Paul in his joyful and humble glorying, and that they were seeing another Job in the vigor of his imperturbable spirit.

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Legenda Minor, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1006-1007


VII
De transitu mortis.

Lectio prima.

1 1Christo igitur iam cruci vir Dei confixus tam carne quam spiritu, non solum seraphici amoris incendio sursum agebatur in Deum, verum etiam prae fervido animarum zelo transfixus, cum crucifixo Domino salutem sitiebat omnium salvandorum. 2Et quia propter excrescentes in pedibus clavos ambulare non poterat, faciebat corpus emortuum per civitates et castella circumvehi, 3ut tamquam alter Angelus ab ortu solis ascendens servorum Dei corda ignis divina flamma succenderet, pedes quoque in viam pacis dirigeret frontesque ipsorum Dei vivi signaculo consignaret. 4Flagrabat quoque desiderio magno ad humilitatis redire primordia, ut leprosis, sicut a principio ministraret, corpusque iam prae labore collapsum revocaret ad pristinam servitutem.

Lectio secunda.

2 1Proponebat, Christo duce, se facturum ingentia, et fatiscentibus membris, spiritu fortis et fervidus, novo sperabat certamine de hoste triumphum. 2Sane ut parvulo Christi cumulus meritorum accresceret, quae omnia vere patientia perfecta consummat, coepit infirmitatibus variis laborare tam graviter, ut dolorosis passionum molestiis per singula membra diffusis, consumptisque iam carnibus, quasi sola cutis ossibus cohaereret. 3Cumque duris corporis angeretur doloribus, poenales illas angustias non poenas, sed sorores suas esse dicebat 4tantasque in ipsarum tolerantia laeta Domino laudes referebat et gratias, ut videretur assistentibus sibi fratribus, quod pro gloriatione iucunda et humili quasi Paulum aspicerent et pro vigoratione imperturbabilis animi alterum Iob viderent.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 714

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