A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 224 

He established himself on the greatest poverty and humility, because, although he was a great prelate in the church of God, he wanted and chose to be lowly not only in the church of God, but also among his brothers.

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One day he was preaching to the people of Terni in the piazza in front of the bishop's residence. The bishop of that city, a discerning and spiritual man, attended that sermon. When the sermon was over, the bishop stood up and, among other words of God that he spoke to them, he said: "From the beginning, when the Lord planted and built His church, He always brightened it with holy men who would improve it by word and example. Now, in this final hour, God has beautified his Church with this little poor man, lowly and unlettered," pointing all the while to blessed Francis. "And because of this," he continued, "you should love and honor the Lord and avoid sin for He has not done thus for every nation."

After the sermon, blessed Francis came down from the place where he was preaching, and together the Lord Bishop and blessed Francis entered the bishop's church. Blessed Francis bowed down before the Lord Bishop and fell down at his feet, Acts 10:25 saying to him: "I tell you the truth, my Lord Bishop: no person in this world has yet honored me as much as you have today. Other people say: 'That man is a saint!' They attribute glory and holiness to the creature, not to the Creator. You, however, like a discerning man, have separated what is precious from what is vile."

Often when blessed Francis was honored and people said, "This man is a saint," he would respond to such expressions by saying: "I am still not sure, since I might have sons and daughters." And he would say: "If at any moment the Lord wanted to take back the treasure He has loaned to me, what would I have left except just body and soul, which even non-believers have? I must believe, rather, that if the Lord had granted a thief and even a non-believer as many gifts as He has given me, they would be more faithful to the Lord than I."

He continued: "As in a painting of the Lord and the Blessed Virgin on wood, it is God and the Blessed Virgin who are honored; God and the Blessed Virgin are held in memory. The wood and the paint attribute nothing to themselves because they are merely wood and paint. In the same way, a servant of God is a painting, that is, a creature of God, in whom God is honored because of His goodness. Like wood or paint, he must not attribute anything to himself, but give all honor and glory to God. He should not attribute anything to himself

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Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1765-1767


5Se ipsum fundavit supra maximam humilitatem et paupertatem, quia, cum esset magnus prelatus in Ecclesia Dei, voluit et elegit abiectus esse non solum in Ecclesia Dei, sed etiam inter fratres suos.

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1Quadam vice, cum beatus Franciscus predicaret populo Interamne, in platea episcopatus ante episcopatum, [episcopus] eiusdem civitatis, discretus et spiritualis homo, intererat fili predicationi; 2unde finita predicatione episcopus surrexit et inter alia verba Dei, que locutus est ad illos, hoc quoque dixit: 3« Dominus ab initio, ex quo plantavit et edificavit Ecclesiam suam, semper illuminavit eam sanctis viris, qui verbo et exemplo ipsam excolerent . 4Nunc autem in hac novissima hora, illustravit eam isto pauperculo et despecto homine et illitterato - demostrans beatum Franciscum digitomcuncto populo - propter quod tenemini inde Dominum diligere et honorare et cavere vobis a peccatis, non enim fecit taliter omni nationi ».

5Finita predicatione, cum descendisset de loco ubi predicaverant dominus episcopus et beatus Franciscus, et intrarent ecclesiam episcopatus, beatus Franciscus inclinavit se coram domino episcopo et procidit ad pedes eius dicens: 6« In veritate dico tibi, domine episcope, quod adhuc aliquis homo non fecit michi tantum honorem in hoc seculo, quantum fecisti michi hodie, quoniam alii homines dicunt: "Iste est sanctus homo", atribuendo gloriam et sanctitatem creature et non Creatori. 7Sed tu separasti pretiosum a vili, tamquam discretus homo ».

8Nam sepe cum beatus Franciscus honorificaretur et diceretur, quod ipse esset sanctus homo, talibus sermonibus respondebat dicens: « Non sum adhuc securus, quod debeam habere filios et filias ». 9Et dicebat: « Nam, quacumque hora Dominus vellet a me auferre thesaurum suum, quod michi mutuavit, quid aliud michi remaneret, nisi solummodo corpus et anima, que etiam infideles habent? 10Immo credere debeo, quod, si Dominus latroni et etiam infideli homini tanta bona contulisset, quanta et michi, quod fideliores me Domino existerent ».

11Et ait: « Sicut in pictura Domini et beate Virginis in ligno depicta honoratur Dominus et beata Virgo, in memoria habetur Deus et beata Virgo, et tamen lignum vel pictura nichil sibi attribuit quia lignum et pictura est, 12sic servus Dei est quedam pictura videlicet creatura Dei, in qua Deus honoratur propter beneficium suum, 13sed ipse nichil attribuere sibi debet,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 224

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