A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277-1283) - 58 

regained his sight, although even more slowly. Seeing that out of necessity he would have to fulfill his vow that had been proven by so many tests to be pleasing to God and the blessed Virgin, he told the brothers all that had happened to him, and entered the Order according to his promise.

64After his entrance into the Order, he did not entirely put off the old man, and did not want to follow the common life of the Order.a Under the pretext of need, he wanted to wear shoes at all times, to eat in the infirmary, and always to sleep on a mattress. During the winter, he hurried to the kitchen to warm himself after Mass.

66The brothers tolerated his living as one of the sick for almost two years—not without great dislike, especially since he had been an honorable person in the world. One night Saint Francis appeared to him in a vision and said to him: "My son, carry me a little while." But the brother refused: "I cannot carry you," he said. "You are a large and heavy person, while I am weak and feeble." But since the saint asked to be carried by him just the same, grabbing his shins, he dragged the saint's head on the ground. Blessed Francis cried out: "You're hurting me, you're hurting me! You're carrying me poorly." "I can't carry you any other way," he replied. The saint complained loudly that he was dragged in this way.

69The next morning after Mass, he entered the kitchen as usual, and there told of his dream. A discerning brother listening to this said to him: "It is as you have seen. For you do hurt and carry blessed Francis poorly, that is, his Order which you are dragging through the dirt because of the worldly and degrading life you lead by living excessively and according to the flesh." When he heard the brother's interpretation of the dream and knew it was true, he took it to heart. He took off his fur cloak and shoes, and lost interest in the infirmary and the feather bed. Instead, taking up the common life of the Order that he had neglected, he turned into another man, completely spiritual and religious, and later became an outstanding preacher. Even though he had been negligent because of procrastination, he did not seem to have altogether turned away from his intention.

73The venerable father, Brother John of England, who became Archbishop of Canterbury after being a Master of Theology at Paris,b told of a frightful example of those ungrateful for a vocation to the

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Liber de Laudibus Beati Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1278-1279


visum iterum, licet multo tardius, solita iterato de ingressu Ordinis promissione, recepit. 63Videns igitur, quia necesse haberet reddere votum suum, quod tantis experimentis probaverat, Deo et beatae Virgini fore gratum, narravit quae sibi contigerant omnia fratribus et Ordinem iuxta promissa intravit.

64Post ingressum Ordinis non omnino veterem deposuit hominem, nec communem Ordinis voluit sequi vitam. 65Sub praetextu necessitatis semper calceatus incedere, in infirmitorio comedere, semper et in culcitra iacere volebat, hiemis tempore post Missam ad coquinam, ut se calefaceret, festinabat.

66Cum sic fratres fere per duos annos infirmam eius conversationem, pro eo maxime quod honorabilis persona in saeculo fuerat, non sine magna displicentia tolerassent, nocte quadam ei per visum beatus Franciscus apparuit dicens: « Rogo te, fili, ut me aliquantulum portes ». 67Renuit ille; « non possum, inquiens, te portare, cum sim debilis et infirmus et tu sis magnus et ponderosa persona ». Sed cum Sanctus nihilominus se ab eo rogaret portari, accipiens eum ille per tibias trahebat caput eius per terram. 68Beatus Franciscus clamabat dicens: « Laedis me, laedis me, male me portas ». Sed alio respondente: « Non possum aliter te portare », tractus sic Sanctus multum conquerebatur de eo.

69Mane facto intravit post Missam, ut consueverat, iste coquinam suumque ibi somnium recitavit. 70Respondit discretus quidam frater hoc audiens [et] dixit ei: « Vere ita est, ut vidisti. Tu enim laedis et male portas beatum Franciscum, scilicet Ordinem suum, quem per terram trahis propter terrenam et infimam vitam, quam ducis carnaliter et inordinate vivendo ». 71Qui cum fratris interpretationem audiret et intelligeret, verum esse, rediit ad cor suum, pelliciam et calceamenta deposuit, infirmitorium et plumarum mollitiem non curavit, sed communem Ordinis quam neglexerat vitam assumens conversus est in virum alterum, totus spiritualis et religiosus admodum factus et optimus deinde praedicator. 72Iste, licet negligens differendo, non tamen omnino adversus a proposito videbatur.

73Sed exemplum terribile contra ingratos de vocatione ad Ordinem retro aspicientes animo indurato narravit, ut dicitur, venerabilis pater frater Iohannes Anglicus, qui post magisterium in theologia Parisius archiepiscopus Cantuariensis est factus.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 58

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