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 The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 400 

of Christ. Devotedly receiving it out of reverence for the holy man, they diligently fed it for a long time, until at last weaving a tunic from its wool, they sent it to the blessed man: a most acceptable gift from “Brother Lamb.”a

43Another time when he was traveling with Brother Paul through the same Marches, he came upon a man who was carrying two lambs on his shoulders to sell. When the pious father heard their bleating, he was moved to the core of his being 1 Kgs 3:26 and, approaching them in a kindly manner, he petted them as a mother would stroke her crying children. Moreover, he said to the man: “Why do you torture my brother lambs by tying them up and hanging them?”b The man answered that he was taking them to market to get money that he needed. When the saint asked what would become of the lambs, and was told they would be slaughtered, he said: “Perish the thought! Better that you should take the mantle that is covering me, and release my brother lambs to me!” The man readily agreed. The mantle was of much greater value than the lambs. The man of God had been forced to borrow it that same day from a faithful friend on account of the cold. Accepting the lambs, he became troubled about what to do with them, and, finally, talking it over with his brother companion, he gave them into the care of the same man from whom he had obtained them, and strictly ordered him never to sell or harm them.c

44He was drawn with the same compassion not only to these kinds of beasts and other worthier creatures, but also to vile and lowly creatures. Because we read of the Savior I am a worm, not a man, Ps 22:7 [Vulgate, Ps 21:7] he would frequently pick up even worms from along the road that they might not be crushed, and would serve strong wine or honey to bees in winter, so they would not die. He diligently noted the virtue of these and all other creatures, and whatever he was able to judge as admirable, delightful or of value in any of them, he referred totally to the glory of the Maker of all things. What do you think he drank in of true knowledge, sweetness and grace in the sun, the moon, the stars and the firmament, in the elements and in their effects or embellishments? What, I ask, did he drink in when he contemplated the power, wisdom and goodness of the Creator of all in all things? Surely, I do not think that it would be possible for any mortal to express this in words.




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

ubi eisdem Christi famulabus oviculam commendavit; 5quam illae ob sancti reverentiam devotissime suscipientes, diligenter eam longo tempore nutrierunt, donec tunicam de ipsius tandem lana texentes, illam beato viro munus acceptissimum de fratre ovicula transmiserunt.

43 1Alio quoque tempore per eamdem Marchiam, iam dicto fratre comite, transiens, invenit in itinere quemdam virum, qui duos in humeris portabat agniculos ad vendendum. 2Quos ut pius pater balantes audivit, commota sunt ex intimis viscera eius, et accedens benigne eos veluti mater plorantes filios attrectavit. 3Dixit autem ad virum: « Quare fratres meos agniculos sic ligatos et suspensos excrucias? ». 4Qui cum respondisset quod eos ad forum pretii necessitate deferret, quaerentique quid de illis postea fieret vir eos mactandos assereret, ait sanctus: 5 « Absit ut hoc fiat! Quin potius mantellum hunc, quo contegor, accipe, et fratres meos agniculos mihi relinque! ». 6Acquievit voluntarius homo ille; 7multo enim maioris pretii erat mantellus, quem vir Dei frigoris necessitate compulsus a quodam fideli mutuaverat ipsa die. 8Igitur acceptis agniculis, quid de ipsis ageret sollicitus exstitit; 9tandem cum socio fratre deliberans, gubernandos eidem viro commisit, et ne vel eos venderet ullo tempore laederetve districte praecepit.

44 1Non solum autem huiusmodi bestiis et dignioribus creaturis, sed et aliis vilibus et minimis simili affectu compassionis adhaesit. 2Nam quia de Salvatore legitur: Ego sum vermis et non homo, vermiculos etiam, ne contererentur multoties de via legebat; 3sed et apibus, ne deficerent, forte vinum vel mel in hieme ministrabat. 4Diligenter enim, non tam illarum, quam et aliarum creaturarum efficaciam attendebat, et quidquid admirationis, delectamenti seu cuiuscumque valoris in unaquaque perpendere poterat, id totum in omnium Factoris gloriam regerebat. 5Quid putas, in sole, luna firmamentoque et stellis; quid in elementis et eorum effectibus sive ornatibus; quid, inquam, in omnibus omnium Creatoris potentiam, sapientiam bonitatemque contemplans, verae cognitionis, dulcedinis hausit et gratiae? 6Utique quempiam mortalium non arbitror hoc posse verbis exprimere.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 400

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