The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 386 

How these brothers, personally serving as knights under such a leader, became more proficient in all perfection by his teaching and example, must, I think, be kept secret rather than described in detail with profuse words. For the blessed man stood watch with the highest vigilance over Is 21:8 himself and his brothers. He continually forewarned them most diligently not only lest they suffer some obvious attack of sin, but also lest a secret thought grow into a vice, lest any deceit, under the guise of virtue or the occasion of necessity, rush upon them, or death penetrate their inner selves through the unguarded openings of the exterior senses.

He did not allow in himself or others, any punishable offense to pass with impunity, lest perchance a lax hand bring on the sluggishness of neglect. In fact, he exercised the rigor of justice in himself so greatly that if ever, as sometimes happens, a temptation of the flesh stole over him, if it was winter, he would throw himself into a place full of ice or snow to drive away the illicit impulse.

25Seeing him hold himself under such great restraint, the other brothers were moved to do similar things. Thus, as has been said, the man of God not only uncompromisingly repressed the urgings of the flesh, but also secured his bodily senses with bars of the greatest caution, lest they cling to any vanity.

While he was staying at a place called Rivo Torto near Assisi, it happened that the Emperor Otto, with much pomp and a great retinue, was passing on the way to Rome for his coronation. Blessed Francis, who was residing beside the road Mt 13:19 with his brothers in their hovel, wished that neither he nor any of his brothers go out or even look out to see the emperor, but he instructed one of them to proclaim to the emperor continually that this sort of glory would endure only a little while.

26That most true zealot of poverty settled himself, together with his brothers, in an abandoned dwelling, in the area noted above, that they might protect themselves there as best they could from the heat and rain. This dwelling was so confining that they were unable to rest comfortably in it. But the narrowness of the place did not constrict the wideness of their hearts. Ps 119:45 [Vulgate, Ps 118:45] Jer 17:1 Quite the contrary, they lived happily in this extreme want and persisted in giving thanks and praise to God Is 51:3 continually. The holy man wrote the names of the brothers on the beams of the little house so that no one could disturb in the slightest another who

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


4Qualiter autem et fratres, sub tanto duce personaliter militantes, ad illius exemplum et doctrinam in omni perfectione profecerint, potius arbitror subticendum, quam diminute etiam cum sermonis prolixitate dicendum. 5Summa namque vigilantia vir beatus super suam suorumque custodiam stabat; 6summa continue diligentia praecavebat, ne non solum forsitan aliquem manifestum peccati paterentur incursum, verum etiam ne qua latens cogitatio germinaret in vitium, 7sed et ne quis sub virtutis specie vel necessitatis occasione se dolus ingereret, aut per incautas exteriorum sensuum aperturas ad interiorem forsitan hominem mors intraret.

8Non est passus in se vel in aliis, ut quidquam disciplina plectendum impune transiret, ne forte remissa manus negligentiae torporem induceret. 9Tantum quippe in seipso iustitiae rigorem exercuit, quod, si quando, ut assolet, tentatio carnis surreperet, hiemali tempore in locum glacie vel nivibus plenum usque ad illiciti motus abscessum se mergeret.

25 1Provocabantur quoque fratres alii similia facere, videntes illum sub tanta se districtione tenere. 2Tanto itaque, ut dictum est, vir Dei non solum carnis incentiva rigore repressit, verum etiam corporis sensus, ne quidquam vanitatis haurirent, summae cautelae repagulis obfirmavit.

3Nam, cum moram in loco qui dicitur Rigus Tortus prope Assisium faceret, accidit ut Romae coronandus imperator Otto cum magno illac comitatu et pompa transiret. 4Beatus vero Franciscus, cum secus viam cum suis fratribus moraretur, ad videndum imperatorem nec ipse nec aliquis suorum egredi saltem vel aspicere de tugurio voluit, praeter unum solum ex ipsis, 5cui huiusmodi gloriam modicum duraturam eidem imperatori constanter nuntiare praecepit.

26 1Recollegerat autem se verissimus ille paupertatis zelator cum fratribus suis in quoddam praedicti loci domicilium derelictum, ut ibidem se utcumque ab aestu pluviaque defendeirent; 2quod videlicet adeo strictum fuit, ut etiam commode in illo requiescere non valerent. 3Sed tamen loci angustia cordis latitudinem non artavit, quin ibidem laetanter in summa penuria viverent et in continua gratiarum actione et laude persisterent. 4Scribebat quoque vir sanctus per tigna domunculae nomina fratrum, ne quis alterum quiescere vel orare volentem inquietare vel modicum posset,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 386

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