The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus Book Five (Excerpts) - 147 

tive, ungodly, and heretical horde.a It was out of jealous love for His Bride that Jesus was angry at her maliciousness, for great numbers of her children had gone the way of adulterers.

7Nevertheless, His anger did not diminish His mercy, and to the Church of the fifth age He directed a final call. Within her He raised up men of the loftiest integrity to root out greed and drive away indulgence. These men hated duplicity and stood up for the truth; they lit the fires of charity and restored the meaning of honor. They surpassed others in a remarkable imitation of Christ Himself,b and by the example of their life showed up a Church that was blemished. The word they preached stirred the people to penance, while the subject of their discourses confounded the distortions of heresy, and their praying was the shield that appeased the divine anger.

18Among these, the ones that shone brightest were Francis and Dominic,c whose prototypes were Elijah and Henoch. The one was touched by the purifying coal of the Seraph and aflame with a heaven-sent ardor, so that he seemed to set the whole world alight. The other, like the Cherub with protecting wings outstretched, bright with the light of wisdom, prolific through his preaching, had a most radiant effect on a darkened world. Those are the features they initially transmitted to their sons; although the resplendence and ardor of both these individuals must be linked to an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit.

26The evil of the fifth age as a whole, however, lay in a perverse and widespread vainglory; the kind that is fed by greed and temporal affluence. Therefore, the man who thoroughly ruled out temporal possessions for himself and his status may be regarded as the principal reformer of that age. And since in him the Church's sixth status begins, and the "life of Christ" was to take shape anew in him,d we may say he is prefigured by that first man God created Gn 1:26 by His own




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 147