A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 232 

Thus, blessed Francis with the cardinal's permission returned to the hermitage of Saint Francis at Fonte Colombo near Rieti.a

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Blessed Francis said: "If the brothers knew how many trials the demons cause me, there would not be one of them who would not have great piety and compassion for me." As a result, as he often said to his companions, he was unable by himself to satisfy the brothers or sometimes to show them the friendliness which the brothers desired.

After he left the world, blessed Francis did not want to sleep on a mattress nor have a feather pillow for his head, when he was sick or for any other reason. Although once, when he was sick with an eye-affliction and the brothers forced him against his will, for his head he used a pillow filled with feathers that he had received from Lord John of Greccio, whom the saint loved with great affection. Because the devil entered into that pillow, the saint was unable to sleep during that night or to stand erect for prayer. After the saint recognized this, he threw it away, and said to his companion, "The devil is very cunning and subtle. Because by the mercy and grace of God Rom 12:1 he cannot harm me in my soul, he wanted to disturb the need of the body by preventing me from sleeping and standing up to pray, in order to stifle the devotion and joy of my heart so that I will complain about my sickness."

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For many years blessed Francis suffered from serious illness of his stomach, spleen, and liver, as well as from a disease of the eyes.b Yet, he was so devout and prayed with so much reverence, that during times of prayer, he refused to lean against a wall or partition, but always stood erect, without a capuche over his head, and sometimes on his knees, especially when he spent the greater part of the day and night in prayer.

When he went through the world on foot preaching, he always would stop walking in order to say his Hours. If he was riding on horseback, because he was always sick and getting sicker, he would get down to say his Hours.

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Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1782-1784


22et licentiatus a cardinale reversus est ad eremitorium S. Francisci de Fonte Columbarum iuxta Reate.

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1Dicebat beatus Franciscus: « Si scirent fratres, quot tribulationes faciunt michi demones, nullus esset illorum, quin pietatem magnam haberet de me et compassionem ». 2Et ideo, sicut multotiens dixit sociis suis, non poterat de se satisfacere fratribus et ostendere illis aliquando familiaritatem, sicut fratres desiderabant.

3Postquam exivit de seculo beatus Franciscus, noluit iacere in culcitra, neque ad caput habere pulvinar de penna occasione infirmitatis vel aliqua occasione, 4nisi semel, quando erat infirmus in oculis et fratres coegerunt eum ultra voluntatem suam, ut teneret ad caput quoddam pulvinar plenum pluma, 5quod acquisiverat dominus Iohanne si de Grecio, quem sanctus diligebat magno affectu. 6In qua nocte non potuit dormire sanctus, quia diabolus intraverat in id pulvinar, nec erectus stare [ad] orationem . 7Quod postquam cognovit sanctus, eiecit illud et dixit ad socium suum: 8 « Nimis est astutus et subtilis diabolus, quoniam, ex quo per misericordiam Dei et eius gratiam non potest michi nocere in anima, vult impedire necessitatem corporis, 9videlicet ut non possim dormire, neque stare erectus ad orationem ad impediendum devotionem et letitiam cordis, et ut immurmurem de infirmitate ».

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1Nam licet per multos annos haberet infirmitatem maximam stomachi, splenis et epatis et infirmitatem oculorum, in tantum erat devotus et tanta reverentia orabat, quod tempore orationis nolebat adherere muro vel parieti, 2sed stabat semper erectus et sine caputio in capite et aliquando super genua, maxime cum pro maiori parte diei et noctis orationi vacaret,

3immo, quando ibat per mundum predicando pedes, semper figebat gradum ad dicendum horas suas; 4si vero equitaret, quia semper erat infirmitius, et ipse descendebat ad dicendum horas suas.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 232

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