A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 230 

the roof of the house where blessed Francis lay, wheeling in a circle and singing.

We, who were with blessed Francis, have written about this. We bear witness that we often heard him say: "If I ever speak to the emperor, I will beg him, for the love of God and by my entreaties, to enact a written law forbidding anyone to catch our sister larks or do them any harm. Likewise, all mayors of cities and lords of castles and villages should be bound to oblige people each year on the Nativity of the Lord to scatter wheat and other grain along the roads outside towns and villages, so that all the birds, but especially our sister larks, may have something to eat on such a solemn feast. Also, out of reverence for the Son of God, whom His Virgin Mother on that night laid in a manger, Lk 2:7 everyone should have to give Brother Ox and Brother Ass a generous portion of fodder on that night. Likewise, on the Nativity of the Lord, all the poor should be fed their fill by the rich."

For blessed Francis held the Nativity of the Lord in greater reverence than any other of the Lord's solemnities. For, although the Lord may have accomplished our salvation in his other solemnities, nevertheless, once He was born to us, as blessed Francis would say, it was certain that we would be saved. On that day, he wanted every Christian to rejoice in the Lord, and, for love of Him who gave Himself to us, Ti 2:14 wished everyone to be cheerfully generous not only to the poor but also to the animals and birds.

Concerning larks, blessed Francis used to say, "Our Sister Lark has a capuche like a religious, and is a humble bird, who gladly goes along the road looking for some grain. Even if she finds it in the animals' manure, she pecks it out and eats it. While flying, she praises the Lord, like good religious looking down on earthly things, whose movement is always in heaven. Moreover, her clothes, that is, her feathers, resemble earth, giving an example to religious not to wear clothes that are colorful and refined, but dull, like earth." And because blessed Francis considered all these things in sister larks, he loved them very much and was glad to see them.

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When blessed Francis was invited at the request of the Lord Cardinal Leo to remain awhile with him in the City, especially because it was winter, he consented. On the first night, the devils beat him. Calling his companions he said to them: "Why did the devils beat me? Why has the Lord given them power to harm me?"

And he began to say: "The devils are the police of our Lord. Just as the podestà sends his police to punish a wrong-doer, in the same way,

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Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1777-1780


supra tectum domus, in [qua] iacebat beatus Franciscus, non multum alte volabant et faciebant rotam in modum circuli cantando.

2Nos vero, qui fuimus cum beato Francisco de ipso hoc scripsimus, testimonium perhibemus, quia multotiens audivimus ipsum dicentem: 3« Si locutus fuero imperatori, supplicabo ei, ut amore Dei et mei precaminis interventu faciat constitutum et scriptum, ut nullus homo capiat sorores laudas vel faciat ipsis quicquam mali. 4Similiter quod omnes [potestates] civitatum et domini castrorum et villarum teneantur quolibet anno in Nativitate Domini compellere homines ad proiciendum de frumento et aliis granis per vias extra civitates et castella, ut habeant ad comedendum maxime sorores laude et alie aves in die tante solemnitatis; 5et quod ad reverentiam Filii Dei, quem in presepio reclinavit beata Virgo mater eius, tali nocte omnis homo in ipsa nocte satis debeat dare de annona fratribus bobus et asinis; 6similiter, quod in Nativitate Domini omnes pauperes a divitibus debeant satiari ».

7Nam beatus Franciscus maiorem reverentiam habebat in Nativitate Domini, quam in ulla alia solemnitate Domini, quoniam, licet in aliis eius solemnitatibus Dominus salutem nostram operaretur, tamen ex quo natus fuit nobis, ut dicebat beatus Franciscus, oportuit nos salvari. 8Propterea volebat beatus Franciscus ut tali die omnis christianus in Domino exultaret et pro eius amore qui semetipsum dedit nobis, omnis homo non tantum in pauperibus cum ilaritate esset largus, sed etiam animalibus et avibus.

9Dicebat beatus Franciscus de lauda: « Soror lauda habet caputium sicut religiosi, et est humilis avis, que vadit libenter per viam ad inveniendum sibi aliqua frumenta, etiam si invenerit ea inter stercora animalium, extrait tamen ea sibi et comedit. 10Volando laudat Dominum, sicut boni religiosi despicientes terrena, quorum semper in celis est conversatio. 11Propterea eius vestimentum terre assimilatur, videlicet penne eius, exemplum prebens religiosis, ut non colorata et delicata vestimenta habere debeant, sed quasi mortua ad modum terre ». 12Et propterea quia beatus Franciscus in sororibus laudis considerabat hec predicta multum diligebat eas et libenter videbat.

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1Cum beatus Franciscus ad preces domini Leonis cardinalis invitatus, quod maneret aliquandiu cum eo in Urbe, maxime quia tunc hiems erat, consensit, prima nocte verberaverunt eum demones; 2et vocans socium dixit illi: « Quare verberaverunt me demones, et data est illis potestas a Domino ad mala faciendum michi? ». 3Et cepit dicere: « Demones sunt castaldi Domini nostri; sicut potestas, cum aliquis offendit, mietit castaldum suum ad puniendum ipsum, sic Dominus,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 230

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