A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 40 

often patched inside and out, with crude trousers, and with a piece of common rope for a belt. Nothing about it was refined, rather it appeared lowly and rough. Often, when they needed a place to stay at night, they would stay concealed in crypts or bake-ovens. During the day, those who knew how, worked in suitable places with their own hands, and would incite all who were with them to an example of humility and patience. The virtue of patience so enveloped them that, they were often mocked and made objects of insult, beaten, stripped naked, and, not defending themselves with anyone's protection, they endured all these things so humbly, that from their mouths came only the voice of praise and thanksgiving.

29They never or hardly ever stopped praying and praising God. Instead, in ongoing discussion, they recalled what they had done. They gave thanks to God for the good done and, with groans and tears, paid for what they neglected or did carelessly. They would have thought themselves abandoned by God if they did not experience in their ordinary prayers that they were constantly visited by the spirit of piety. For when they felt like dozing during prayer, they would hold themselves up with various props, so that furtive sleep would not disturb their prayer.

32If one of them took some food or drink, as normally happens ;out of weariness from travel or for some other reason, they punished themselves severely with many days of fasting. They strove to restrain the burning of the flesh by such harsh treatment, that they frequently did not hesitate to strip their bodies naked on ice, or to cover themselves in blood from gashing them with sharp thorns. They would inflict so much discomfort on themselves that it seemed they hated themselves. As they practiced peace and gentleness towards all, they avoided all scandal with the greatest zeal.

36They thought humbly about themselves, piously about others, especially about priests. When a priest told a brother: "Watch out that you're not a hypocrite," the brother thought that he was a hypocrite and said: "It was a priest who said it. A priest can't lie, can he?" He was grieving, dejected and troubled, until the saint wisely excused the priest's statement.

39With a remarkable zeal for silence, these brothers curbed their tongue. They hardly spoke even when necessary, nor did anything harmful or useless come out of their mouths. All their senses were so subdued that they scarcely allowed themselves to hear or see anything except what the purpose of religion required. In them

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Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1260-1261


sola tunica intus et foris quandoque repetiata, femoralibus vilibus et rudi pro cingulo fune contenti. 26Nullus in habitu cultus, sed despectus multus et vilitas apparebat. 27Noctibus saepe, cum necessario carerent hospitio, in cryptis vel clibanis latitabant; diebus vero in locis honestis manibus propriis quae noverant laborantes omnes, cum quibus erant, ad exemplum humilitatis et patientiae provocabant. 28Itaque eos induerat patientiae virtus, ut saepe opprobria [et] contumelias passi, verberati, nudati, nul lius patrocinio se tuentes cuncta sic humiliter sustinerent, ut in ore ipsorum non nisi vox laudum et gratiarum resonaret.

29Vix aut nunquam a Dei laude cessabant, sed quotidiana discussione, quidquid egerant recolligentes pro bene actis gratias [Deo], pro neglectis et incaute commissis gemitus et lacrymas persolvebant. 30Relictos a Deo [se] fore putabant, si non se in spiritu devotionis solita pietate cognoscerent visitari. 31Cum orationibus vellent incumbere, ne per soranii subreptionem oratio turbaretur, diversis sibi adminiculis providebant.

32Si quis eis [aliquid] cibi vel potus, ut assolet, pro labore itineris vel alia de causa surriperet, multorum se dierum abstinentia cruciabant. 33Tanta maceratione carnis incentiva reprimere satagebant, ut saepe corpus in glacie non abhorrerent nudare vel inter spinarum aculeos effusione sanguinis irrigare. 34Tantam sibi afflictionem quilibet faciebat, quod videbatur habere odio semetipsum. 35Pacem et mansuetudinem ad omnes servantes cuncta summo studio scandala devitabant.

36De se humiliter, pie de aliis, maxime sacerdotibus, sentiebant. 37Cum enim sacerdos quidam fratri dixisset: « Vide, ne sis hypocrita », ille hypocritam se putavit dicens: « Sacerdos est qui dixit, potestne mentiri sacerdos? ». 38Dolebat moestus et anxius, donee sanctus sacerdotis verbum sagaciter excusavit.

39Linguam suam miro silentii studio refrenabant; vix enim tempore necessario loquebantur, nec de ipsorum ore scurrile vel otiosum quippiam procedebat. 40Sensus omnes ita mortificatos habebant, ut vix aliquid in visu vel auditu liberet, nisi quod religionis intentio deposcebat. 41Simplex [erat in] eis aspectus,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 40

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