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 The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 390 

30Rather often, too, the man of God, absent in the body, but present in the spirit, 1 Cor 5:3 gave the solace of spiritual joy to the brothers. I will recount briefly one of many such incidents. Once when Brother John of Florence was celebrating a chapter in Provence, where he had been appointed minister by Blessed Francis, the venerable Brother Anthony, who is now a saint and glorious confessor of Christ, was also present.a There, while that saint, full of the wisdom of the Spirit, was expounding the Scripture passage, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” Jn 19:19 he affectionately proposed a word of exhortation to the brothers who were gathered there. A certain Brother Monaldo, a priest, who was a simple man and known to be adorned with many virtues, turned his face to the door of the house. There, with his bodily eyes, he saw Blessed Francis, lifted up in the air with his hands spread as on a cross, blessing the brothers who were present. Suddenly, the infusion of spiritual joy was so great in each one that the very experience made worthy of belief, to the astonishment of all, what that priest afterwards told them about his vision.

31Let it suffice to narrate one of many examples of how he often laid bare the secrets of others’ hearts. A brother, Riccerio by name, as noble in his deeds as in his birth, presumed so much on the merits of Blessed Francis that he believed a man certainly merited divine grace if he possessed as a gift the good will of this saint, but that if he was cut off from that gift, he deserved nothing less than the wrath of God. And though he very much wanted to obtain the gift of friendship with him, he greatly feared Gn 32:8 that the holy man would discern some hidden fault in him, as a result of which it would happen that he be further distanced from his favor. Therefore, this brother was continually and gravely afflicted by such fear and did not reveal his thoughts to anyone.

It happened one day that, while deeply troubled as usual, Riccerio came to the cell in which Blessed Francis was praying. The man of God, knowing of his arrival and his state of mind, kindly called him to his side and said: “My son, from now on let no fear or temptation disturb you, because you are most dear to me, and among those especially dear to me, I love you with a special charity. Come to me confidently whenever it pleases you, and leave whenever you like.”b He was greatly amazed and joyful at the words of the holy father, and from then

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


30 1Saepius quoque fratribus suis vir Dei solatia gaudii spiritualis impendit, quibus ipse, corpore quidem absens, sed spiritu praesens fuit. 2Referam breviter unum de multis. Nam tempore quodam, fratre Iohanne de Florentia capitulum in Provincia celebrante, ubi a beato Francisco minister fuerat constitutus, intererat eidem capitulo venerabilis ille frater, qui nunc sanctus et gloriosus Christi confessor, Antonius. 3Ubi dum sanctus iste, in exponendis divinarum Paginarum eloquiis sapientiae spiritu plenus super hac materia: « Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum » fratribus adunatis verbum exhortationis affectuose proponeret, frater quidam, Monaldus nomine, sacerdos, vir simplex et multarum virtutum ornatu praeclarus, faciem suam ad ostium domus convertit, 4viditque corporeis oculis qualiter beatus Franciscus in aëre sublevatus, veluti manibus in cruce protensis, fratres qui aderant benedixit. 5Tantumque subito singulis et universis gaudium spiritus est infusum, ut, quod idem sacerdos postea de ipsa visione narrabat, cunctis mirantibus ipsa faceret experientia fide dignum.

31 1Qualiter autem alienorum cordium saepius occulta pandebat, unum de plurimis enarrare sufficiat. 2Frater quidam Richerius nomine, tam moribus quam genere nobilis, in tantum de beati Francisci meritis praesumebat, ut divinam profecto mereri gratiam crederet, si quis ipsius sancti dono benevolentiae potiretur, aut, si quis illa careret, Dei nihilominus iracundiam mereretur. 3Cumque ad obtinendum familiaritatis ipsius beneficium vehementius aspiraret, timuit valde ne quid in ipso vitii vir sanctus occulte forsitan deprehenderet, cuius occasione se ab illius gratia magis elongari contingeret. 4Igitur huiusmodi timore iam dictum fratrem continue et graviter affligente, nec illo cogitationem suam cuiquam, hominum revelante, accidit ipsum die quadam solito more turbatum ad cellulam, in qua beatus Franciscus orabat, accedere. 5Cuius adventum simul et animum vir Dei cognovit, et benigne ad se vocato sic ait: « Nullus te timor de caetero, nulla te, fili, conturbet tentatio, quoniam carissimus mihi es et inter praecipue caros speciali caritate te diligo. 6Securus ad me, cum tibi placuerit, venias, et a me libere pro tua voluntate recedas ». 7Obstupuit non modicum et laetatus est frater in sermonibus sancti patris; et deinceps,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 390

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