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 The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 395 

But the desire for martyrdom had not cooled within him. A little later, hurrying to Morocco to preach the faith of Christ to Miramamolin and his court, several times he rushed on so impetuously that, intoxicated by the Spirit, he left his traveling companion behind, racing ahead all by himself. He reached Spain in a fever of eagerness, but because the Lord, who for the sake of the salvation of many others ordained otherwise, afflicted him with serious ailments so that he returned to Italy.

36On arrival there, he stayed a little while at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. At that time, too, he received certain educated men and nobles into the Order. These he treated with the care and decency they deserved and with that outstanding discernment he showed to others. Moreover, although the holy man was unwillingly compelled to put off his project, he did not abandon the desire for martyrdom until at last, in the thirteenth year of his conversion, he crossed over to Syria. Although at the time battles were being fought between the Christians and the unbelievers every day, trusting in the Lord he was not afraid to approach the sultan even at clear peril to his life. After being afflicted with numerous heavy blows and insults, he finally gained a personal audience with the sultan. But it would take too long to narrate how with great steadiness he withstood the sultan and with great eloquence he neutralized the arguments of those railing against the Christian faith. The sultan accepted him with enormous honor and offered him many precious gifts, but when the holy man of God scorned these gifts as if they were filth, the sultan himself was even more amazed at this man unlike any other, and listened more intently to his words.

But in all these things the blessed man did not find his desire fulfilled; for the Lord had wonderfully reserved for him the privilege of a unique grace: bearing the emblems of Christ’s own wounds. Ps 127:5 [Vulgate, Ps 126:5]a

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


2Verum adhuc in ipso martyrii fervor non tepuit, quin ad fidem Christi Miramamolino suisque complicibus praedicandam versus Marrochium non multo post iter arripiens, tanto ad hoc aliquoties impetu festinaret, ut etiam peregrinationis suae comitem, prae spiritus ebrietate solus praecurrendo, desereret. 3Sed cum iam, usque in Hispaniam ferventissime processisset, Domino ad aliorum multorum salutem aliud ordinante eique per gravissimas corporis aegritudines occursante, rursus in Italiam rediit.

36 1Veniensque, aliquantulam apud sanctam Mariam de Portiuncula moram fecit. 2Eo quoque tempore quosdam litteratos ad Ordinem nobilesque recepit, quibus discretione praecipua, qua in alios mirabiliter ipse pollebat, curam digne et decenter adhibuit. 3Porro vir sanctus, quamvis suum cogeretur vel invitus protelare propositum, tamen a coepto martyrii fervore non destitit, donec tandem tertiodecimo conversionis suae anno ad partes Syriae transmeavit. 4Et licet quotidiana tunc inter christianos et infideles praelia gererentur, ipse tamen in Domino confisus adire Soldanum nec cum evidenti periculo verebatur. 5Unde et multis gravibusque verberibus et iniuriis, antequam perveniret, affectus, tandem ipsius Soldani conspectu personaliter est potitus. 6Sed narratui longum foret, in quanta mentis constantia coram illo perstiterit, quantaque facundia fidei christianae oblatrantium verba retuderit. 7Soldanus vero cum ingenti illum honore suscepit, pluraque sibi et pretiosa valde donaria, protulit. 8Quae sancto Dei veluti quasdam immunditias vilipendente, ipse Soldanus tamquam de viro cunctis, dissimili magis obstupuit, et illius eo diligentius verbis intendit.

9Sed nimirum in his omnibus suum vir beatus desiderium non implevit; 10cui mirabilius in singularis gratiae praerogativam gerenda suorum Dominus insignia stigmatum reservavit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 395

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