The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 399 

Chapter IX

HIS LOVE FOR ALL CREATURES ON ACCOUNT OF HIS LOVE FOR THE CREATOR; AND HOW HE SHOWED GREAT REVERENCE FOR THE NAME OF THE LORD AND HIS WORDS; AND HIS COMPASSION FOR THE POOR.

41The mind of Blessed Francis was filled with such great sweetness of divine love that, because he saw the marvelous work of the Creator in all things, he abounded in the greatest tenderness of piety towards all creatures.a Yet, among those creatures, the ones he especially loved were those like sheep, which he saw to be of a simpler and gentler nature, and whose names he had heard in the Scriptures, representing Christ because of their likeness to him.b

Once, while he was going through the Marches of Ancona with Brother Paul, whom he had appointed minister, Acts 26:16 he saw a lone little lamb grazing among a large flock of goats. At the sight of this, he sighed deeply and said to Brother Paul: “Do you not see that little sheep walking alone and simply among the goats? Thus did Our Lord Jesus Christ, innocent, meek and humble, walk among the scribes, Pharisees and the chief priests. Let us, my dear son, pay the price and lead this lamb from the midst Ps 136:11 [Vulgate, Ps 135:11] of that flock of goats.”{tip title="Note C" content="Again, Julian quotes Francis in a manner similar to 1C." class="blue"}c{/tip

42While they stood troubled, since they had nothing but their mean tunics with which to buy the sheep, a passing merchant freely offered to do so and, having paid the price, he left the sheep with the holy man. Joyfully, he took the sheep with him to the city of Osimo, to which he was making his way and where he stopped as a guest of the bishop of the place. To the bishop who was wondering why he was leading a lamb, he narrated a long parable about it, until the bishop, who was mightily struck by the purity of this simple man of God, gave thanks to the Most High. The following day the man of God went to a cloister of the Ladies at San Severino, where he left the lamb with these servants

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


Caput IX

De affectu ipsius ad omnes creaturas propter amorem Creatoris; et quantam reverentiam nomini Domini et verbis exhibuit; et de compassione pauperum.

41 1Tanta beati Francisci mentem divini amoris dulcedo repleverat, ut in omnibus opera Creatoris miranda considerans, maxima etiam erga cunctas afflueret pietatis teneritudine creaturas. 2Inter alias tamen illas praecipue diligebat, quas, ut puta oviculas, simplicioris et mansuetioris naturae videbat, quarum etiam nominibus Christum ob aliquam similitudinem figurari in Scripturis audierat.

3Nam tempore quodam per Marchiam Anconae cum fratre Paulo, quem ibidem ministrum constituerat transiens, quemdam hircorum et caprarum vidit in pascuis non modicum gregem, et unicam inter omnes iam dicti gregis pecudes oviculam depascentem. 4Ad cuius intuitum graviter ingemiscens, dixit ad fratrem: « Nonne vides hane solam oviculam inter hircos et capras simpliciter ambulantem? 5Sic utique Dominus noster Iesus Christus innocens, mansuetus et humilis inter scribas et pharisaeos et sacerdotum principes ambulavit. 6Solvamus ergo, fili carissime, pretium, et educamus illam de medio gregis caprarum ».

42 1Cumque nihil aliud praeterquam viles tunicas habentes de ove redimenda solliciti starent, ecce quidam mercator transiens se ad hoc voluntarius obtulit, pretioque soluto ipsam ovem sancto viro reliquit. 2Qui gaudens illam secum in civitatem quae dicitur Auximum, quo tendebat, adduxit, et ad eiusdem loci episcopum hospitandi gratia declinavit. 3Miranti igitur primum episcopo quare sic oviculam duceret, longam de illa parabolam coepit retexere, donec et ipse episcopus Altissimo gratias ageret, non modicum de tanta hominis Dei compunctus simplici puritate. 4Sequenti autem die per quoddam claustrum Dominarum apud Sanctum Severinum vir Dei transitum fecit, ubi eisdem Christi famulabus oviculam commendavit;

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 399

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