The Versified Life of Saint Francis (after 1283) - 99 

Spared him not at all as he sat among the distinguished,
But rather called him a mountain man and mercenary,
Reproaching him with being but a sluggard and a rustic.
Glad at all this was the holy man, blessing his curser,
120With honor for abuse, with praise for the insults,

125He puts to flight all that flatters human mentality.
As a great sinner did he think of himself in his heart,
Speak of himself with his lips, although most perfect he was,
Surpassing in worthiness, of the whole religious life
Model, "mirror," fountainhead, "and of virginal purity"
A shining snow-white blossom. This so well did he conceal
That even his confessor could hardly know it to the full,
Until he to whom all things are open revealed it to him.
Worthy was it, to be sure, and truly right and proper
That "flesh that was virginal" carry the sacred stigmata;
Thus was he great in the sight of God, though little in his own.

And because he was so humble, so sublime was the height
God raised him up to, here below and in the world above.
This was what was shown to a brother of proven virtue,
His companion at that time. He, when once intense in prayer,
Passing into ecstasy, had sight of many and varied
Thrones in heaven, of greater dignity one among them
With varied ornament, shone out, a thing of wonder; but he
Inquiring as to who would for it be chosen, heard this:
"This throne you see did once belong to one of those that fell
When the angelic band for their sinful lapse to ruin came;
But the throne that once was lost by him that swelled with pride
Is reserved for giving now to Francis who was humble."
The brother after this coming out once more of ecstasy,
Wishing to know what the man of the Lord thought of himself,
In conversing about God which both were doing intently
This he asked of him. The holy man replied: "I consider
Myself the greatest sinner of all." "This," asked the other,
"Can you possibly think or with all sober reason say?"
This was his reply: "Criminal none exists I reckon,
Who if God had done for him what he did for me, would not be
To Him more grateful for all that he had from Him received."
Confirmed was the brother hereby that what he saw bore the truth,
Noting that the holy man thought the lowest of himself,
And a humble man scaled the height whence the proud one fell.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 99