A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 362 

Chapter Eleven
HIS LOVE FOR CREATURES AND CREATURES' LOVE FOR HIM

113
FIRST, THE LOVE HE HAD ESPECIALLY FOR BIRDS WHICH ARE CALLED HOODED LARKS BECAUSE THEY SYMBOLIZE A GOOD RELIGIOUS

Completely absorbed in the love of God, blessed Francis perfectly discerned the goodness of God not only in his own soul, already adorned in the perfection of every virtue, but also in any creature whatever. Because of this, by a singular and profound love, he was moved toward creatures, especially to those in which something of God or something pertaining to religion was symbolized.

Of all the birds, he particularly loved a little bird called the lark,a commonly called the cowled lark. Concerning these, he used to say: "Sister Lark has a capuche like religious, and is a humble bird, because she gladly goes along the road looking for some grain. Even if she finds it in manure, she pecks it out and eats it. While flying, she praises the Lord very sweetly, like good religious looking down on earthly things, whose way of life is always in heaven and intention is always for the praise of God. Her clothes, that is, her feathers, resemble the earth and give an example to religious not to wear colorful and refined clothing, but those of a cheaper price and color, just as the earth is of little worth compared to the other elements."

And because he considered these things in them, he was very glad to see them. Therefore it pleased the Lord that these little birds should show some signs of affection for him at the hour of his death. For on the Saturday evening after vespers, before the night on which he passed to the Lord, a great flock of these birds called larks came over the roof of the house where he lay, and flying low and

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Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 362

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