The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus Book Five (Excerpts) - 148 

deliberate counsel after the work of the five days in the image of his own likeness, that he might be master of all times.

35Take note that this does not mean that the saints of the sixth age are greater than the Apostles. For the latter, by reason of their unique following of Christ, must be excepted from comparison with all others. Yet from among these others Dominic takes his place in the spiritual reform, with his all-embracing, thorough, and complete spurning of earthly things. Each one of these saints fully and perfectly trampled mundane interests and commanded their descendants to do likewise. We have decided, however, to treat here and now of that man whose status is singled out for attack at present by those who are spoiling the evangelical life, just as from the outset it was under attack, only more forcefully, from crafty masters who reviled the most exalted poverty. So, let us turn our discussion directly on the man who, we can say, conspicuously represented the life of Christ, not only in the pattern of his behavior, but in the loftiness of his contemplation; not only by the extraordinary admiration he drew, but by that privilege that was his when marked with the wounds of the most holy passion of Jesus Christ.

[Imitator of Christ]

54For if we are to talk of the way he lived, who is capable of telling in full how he sought to imitate the closest likeness to the life of Christ? His whole aim, in public and in private, was to reproduce in himself and in others those footprints of Christ which had been covered over and forgotten. And the unique privilege granted the blessed Francis was this: to be the first entitled to transmit to holy Church the life of Jesus, scrupulously in all its aspects, in a communal and durable state through his Order.

422a4In point of fact the holy Apostles were the peerless foundations upon which this life was laid, that is, after the most important and principal cornerstone, Christ Jesus, Eph 2:20 in whom the whole ecclesial edifice is built up, grows, and is completed. Nevertheless, as has been pointed out elsewhere, since the Synagogue was to be excluded for its sin of faithlessness and the Gentile world was not yet ready to take on such lofty standards, the Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostles that the actual status of Gospel perfection was not for passing on to all and sundry in those times. That is why they did not impose on the churches they governed the observance of that state of life which for themselves was prescribed by Christ and which they had adopted and observed to the full. For this was reserved for the third general status of the whole world's history,

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 148

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