A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 48 

Minister.a For as the just one is his own first accuser, while Blessed Francis accused himself in public of being the greatest of sinners, in private he never confessed the sin of bodily fornication. His confessor was astonished, and piously wanted to know whether he was untainted in his flesh, something he could not obtain from the saint by repeated entreaty. But, because he was a simple man of the greatest purity, he merited to secure from God that he was a virgin. This was revealed and shown to him by a special sign. For while he was praying, he saw blessed Francis standing in a high prominent place which no one could approach and no one could touch. He was told in spirit that this indicated the prominence of the virginal purity found in blessed Francis.

17Virginal purity was fitting for flesh adorned with the sacred stigmata. If some ordinary people of the world, by the working of grace and nature, preserve the integrity of the flesh even to old age, who would wonder that Francis preserved it, when God was disposed to exalt him with such a grace? Therefore, a greatly humble man was exalted by the greatest exaltation

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Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1269-1270


confessori eius revelatum per eum et Ministro Generali compertum est. 15Nam cum beatus Franciscus, sicut iustus prior accusator est sui, se ut maximum peccatorem incusaret in publico, nunquam tamen de fornicatione corporali confitens in privato, miratus confessor et pie, an integer [sit] carne, scire desiderans, quod non extorsisset a Sancto per orationis instantiam, uti erat vir simplex et maximae puritatis, meruit obtinere a Deo, quod virgo esset, et revelatum est ei et signo speciali ostensum. 16Dum enim orasset, vidit beatum Franciscum in loco eminenti assistere, ad quem nullus accedere quemve nullus contingere poterat, fuitque sibi dictum in spiritu, per hoc in beato Francisco eminentiam virginalis munditiae designari.

17Carnem sane sacris ornandam stigmatibus virginalis puritas condecebat. 18Si carnis integritas mediocribus nonnullis in saeculo tam gratiae quam ipsius opere naturae usque in senium perseverat, quis miretur eam Francisco servatam, quem Deus tanta disposuerat gratia sublimare? 19Maxime itaque humilis maxima factus est exaltatione sublimis.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 48

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