A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 43 

Chapter III
THE SELF-EMPTYING OF BLESSED FRANCIS

1The holy man expressed great joy over the brothers' progress, while never looking down on the sick or the tempted. At one time when a tempted brother asked Francis to pray for him, the holy man said: "Believe me, son, I believe you are even more a servant of God because of this." "No one," he said, "should consider himself a servant of God until he has passed through temptations and tribulations. A temptation overcome is like a ring with which the Lord betroths the soul of his servant. Many flatter themselves over their many years of merit and rejoice at never having suffered any temptations. But sheer fright would knock them out before a battle even started. So they should know that the Lord has kept in mind their weakness of spirit. Hard fights are rarely fought except by those with the greatest strength."

6Another brother was vexed for a long time by a temptation of the spirit, which is worse and more subtle than the prompting of the flesh. He came to Saint Francis and threw himself at his feet; overflowing with bitter tears, he could say nothing, prevented by deep sobs. The saint, however, realized that he was tormented by wicked spirits. "I command you, demons," he said, "from this moment stop assailing my brother." And immediately the brother became free of all temptation. In this both the saint's piety for a son and his power over demons appeared.

10Tempted himself, he learned to suffer with those who were sometimes tempted. For at times he endured a very great temptation of the flesh and, to put this temptation to flight, he would scourge himself unmercifully. But when this spirit would not depart despite the severe discipline, he would cast himself naked into the snow. It was by this chastisement of his flesh that he expelled the spiritual wound from his breast.

12At another time a very serious temptation of spirit came upon him, surely to embellish his crown. Because of it he was filled with anguish and sorrow; he afflicted and chastised his body, he prayed and wept bitterly. He was under attack in this way for several years, until one day while praying at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, he heard in spirit a voice: "Francis, if you had faith like a mustard seed, you would tell

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Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1263-1264


Caput III
De condescensione beati Francisci.

3 1Gaudebat multum de fratrum profectu vir sanctus, nunquam tamen infirmos seu tentatos despiciens. 2Semel enim a quodam fratre tentato rogatus, ut oraret pro eo, dixit: « Fili, magis propter hoc servum Dei te credo. Nullus, inquit, servum Dei reputare se debet, quousque per tentationes et tribulationes transierit. 3Anulus, inquit, quodam modo est victa tentatio, quo Dominus sibi desponsat animam servi sui. 4Plures sibi de annosis meritis blandiuntur et se nulla sustinuisse tentamenta laetantur; sed quoniam ante congressum solus eos terror elideret, sciant spiritus sui debilitatem consideratam a Domino. 5Vix enim obiiciuntur certamina fortia, nisi ubi fuerit virtus perfecta ».

6Alius frater tentatione spiritus, quae incentivo carnis [subtilior est et] peior, cum diu vexatus [esset], ad beatum Franciscum veniens proiecit se ad pedes eius a; 7et cum lacrymis amarissimis et singultibus impeditus nihil dicere posset, cognovit eum Sanctus malignis spiritibus molestari et ait: « Praecipio vobis, daemones, ut amodo fratrem meum non impugnetis ». 8Et statim frater ab omni tentatione liber effectus est. 9In quo Sancti et in filium pietas et in daemones potestas apparuit.

10Tentatus enim ipse aliquando tentatis compati didicit. 11Carnis enim tentationem aliquando maximam passus est; ad quam effugandam cum se durissime verberaret, nec tamen spiritus propter disciplinam discederet, nudum se demersit in nivem per molestias corporis educens de pectore vulnus mentis.

12Alio tempore immissa est sibi tentatio gravissima spiritus, utique ad coronae augmentum. 13Anxiabatur exinde pluribus diebus, orabat et laerymabatur acerrime. 14Cum oraret in quadam die, audivit vocem in spiritu: « Francisce, si habueris fidem ut granum sinapis, dices monti,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 43

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