The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 368 

Prologue

IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.
INTRODUCTION TO THE LIFE OF SAINT FRANCIS.

The weaknesses of some of the holy people
the Lord was pleased to endow with a special prerogative of merit
are for a particular purpose mentioned in the Scriptures.a
Although the innocent may praise and marvel
at the inscrutable depths of that divine plan,
according to which some of the fallen have been raised
by more excellent merits
above many of the just, they should not,
by trusting in their own righteousness Ez 33:13
despise those laid low in the depth of vice;
nor should sinners, in despair because of their shameful deeds,
fear to approach the fountain of mercy to ask forgiveness.
As a respectful humility moves the just to fear the Lord as judge,
lest the ruinous growth of presumption destroy them,
so the firm and equally determined hope of the
fallen calls for the kindness of a loving Father,
lest the horrible whirlpool of despair drag them down.
Thus the laudable and altogether marvelous glory
of the Lord’s magnificence
Ps 145:12 [Vulgate, Ps 144:12] is proclaimed
which, by gratuitous love, sustains the just lest they stumble
and, by kind compassion, lifts up those who have been struck down Ps 145:14 [Vulgate, Ps 144:14]
lest they perish.
Hence,
we read that Christ was denied by his first vicar,b
and that even his vessel of election persecuted the Church.c
We read also about the publican

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Iuliani de Spira Officium Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Prologus.

In Nomine Domini.
Introitus in vitam sancti Francisci.

1Ad hoc quorumdam, quos speciali meritorum praerogativa Dominus privilegiare disposuit, priora quaedam in divinis eloquiis commemorantur infirma sanctorum, quatenus inscrutabilem divini consilii profunditatem mirantes pariter et laudantes, quo lapsi quidam excellentioribus super plerosque iustorum meritis sublimantur, 2nec innocentes quasi de sua confisi iustitia in imo vitiorum prostratos despiciant, nec tamen de suis impii flagitiis desperantes pro venia postulanda propinquare ad fontem misericordiae Dominum pertimescant. 3Sic nimirum pia iustorum humilitas Domini iudicis iustitiam metuit, ne ruinosus eos praesumptionis tumor extollat; 4sic tam firma quam discreta lapsorum spes de pii patris benignitate praesumit, ne horrenda ipsos vorago desperationis absorbeat; 5sic quoque stupenda in omnibus et laudanda magnificentiae Domini gloria praedicatur, quae et gratuito diligens sustentat iustos ne corruant, et benigne commiserans erigit elisos ne pereant . 6Hinc Christum negasse primum eiusdem vicarium; hinc et ipsum vas eiectionis Christi legimus Ecclesiam persecutum d, 7ob hoc etiam publicanus ille,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 368

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