Jacopone of Todi (1278-1293) - 877 

Seeing the Foe was carrying the day,
the Most High Lord sent in the cavalry
with a well-trained commander.
Saint Francis was chosen as standard-bearer,
but he accepted into his ranks
only those who despised the world.
He wanted no one to ride with him
who did not accept the reins of three bridles:
poverty, obedience, and chastity.

Francis bore the weapons of his Lord,
Who loved him so greatly
that He marked him with His own coat-of-arms;
So piercing was the love in Francis's heart
that his body was adorned with five pearls.
He was like a fig, whose rich interior
bursts through its skin,
becoming honey sweetness in the mouth.

The Lord then showed Francis how to skirmish,
how to deliver blows and how to take them,
and taught his tongue the words of peace.

The sight of Francis struck fear into the Foe,
For he resembled the Christ of God,
Who with His cross
Had once before stripped him of his prize.

"If he is the Christ, the victory will be his;
against him there are no defenses.
O misery, to be defeated by such an enemy!
But I will not lose heart, I will tempt him!
Nothing ventured, nothing gained!"

"Francis—what are you doing?
You'd better take care—
that strict fast you've begun will kill you."

"I fast with discretion,
for the body, properly disciplined,
is a good and useful servant."

"The whole world knows you are holy;
your praises are sung by all.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 877