A Liturgical Legend in the Tradition of the Friars Preacher - 833 

liturgical celebrations, accepted in 1268 a text that began Quasi stella matutina.a While proposing a number of possibilities for the identity of the author, d'Alençon left it an open question. In the final analysis, the Friars Preacher accepted the following set of nine lessons based on Thomas of Celano's Life of Saint Francis. The resolution of the question of this being the text of John the Prothonotary remains for future scholars.b


Lesson I

Blessed Francis was a native of Tuscany, born of humble origins in the town of Assisi. After the wantonness of youthful heat and the vanities of worldly business, he was worn down by the annoyance of a serious illness and the finger of God brought about his conversion. But one day, when he had invoked the Lord's mercy with his whole heart, it was shown him what he must do. He soon changed his life, selling everything that he had acquired with much toil for money. Then one day he entered a church that was falling into ruin. Moved by its distress, he offered the money he was carrying to the priest. Out of fear of his parents he refused to accept it, so Francis threw it away, since he thought it unseemly to possess money and virtues at the same time.

Lesson II

His father was in a rage when he saw this and bound him in chains and in prison. His mother intervened, hoping by her coaxing to reverse his decision. But when the man of God could not be softened either by his father's blows or his mother's breasts, he was released at the insistence of his mother's affection. Then having given back all his clothes, even his shorts, to his father's greed before the bishop of the city, he was half-clothed, and a pack of youths pestered him with mud and stones as a fool. One day when he heard from the gospel reading that no staff, nor purse, nor sandals should be carried by the followers of Christ, he put aside his sandals and staff and he dressed with a cord for a belt and a poor tunic of scratchy wool.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 833

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