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 The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 401 

Since he traced all things back to their one first beginning, he called every creature “brother,” and, in his own praises, continuously invited all creatures to praise their one common Creator.

Calling upon the name of the Lord, 2 Tm 2:19 he was profoundly moved beyond the understanding of humanity, was totally joyful, and seemed to be totally from a different age.a Because of this, he showed such great reverence for the name of the Savior that anything he found written and set in an unseemly place, he respectfully gathered up and set in a worthy place, in case it contained sacred words or names, or even the letters in which these are written.

45 With how much fire of compassion do you think he, who abounded in such sweet piety, not only for brute animals but even for insensate and lowly creatures, burned towards the poor? This true patriarch of the poor, wishing to be the poorest of all, sought no possession beyond a mean tunic.b But even in regard to this one necessity, he was unwilling to be easy on himself. On the contrary, many times he most readily wished to give even that to some poor person.

In winter, he would ask wealthy people for all sorts of clothing and, accepting them in such a way that he would not be bound to repay those who had given most freely, he would bestow them on the first needy person he happened to meet. He took it hard if he saw any harm done by word or deed to any of the poor. Once, upon hearing that one of the brothers had scolded a poor man saying, “Watch out that perhaps you’re only falsely pretending to be poor,” he chided him severely and had him fall naked before the man, kiss his feet and humbly ask his pardon. “Anyone who insults a poor man,” he said, “does an injury to Christ, whose noble sign he carries, who voluntarily made himself poor for us in this world.” Even though he had little bodily strength, he lent his own shoulders again and again to lighten the burdens of the poor. Out of pious zeal for them he frequently did many other things of this sort, which, if we were not striving after brevity, would not have been unworthy to write.

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


7Et quoniam ad unum principium omnia retorquebat, propter hoc omnia fraterno nomine nuncupabat, omnia ad unius Conditoris laudem continuus ipse in laudibus invitabat.
8Ipse vero, nomen Domini nominans, totus supra hominis intellectum afficiebatur, totus in iubilo, totusque alterius saeculi videbatur. – 9Propterea et tantam nomini Salvatoris reverentiam exhibebat, quod et qualecumque scriptum inveniret inhoneste locatum, reverenter illud recolligens, in loco reponebat honesto, 10ne forte verba divina vel nomina, vel etiam litterae quibus illa scribuntur, continerentur in illo.

45 1Quanto autem, putas, erga pauperes homines compassionis ardore fervebat, qui tanta non solum ad animalia bruta, verum etiam ad insensibiles et infimas affluebat pietatis dulcedine creaturas? 2Nam hic vere pauperum patriarcha omnium pauperrimus esse desiderans, etsi supra vilem tunicam nihil possessionis appeteret, noluit tamen in hac unica necessitate parcere sibi ipsi, quin et illam pluries indigenti cuiquam promptissime cuperet impertiri.

3Vestes quoque diversas a divitibus in hieme postulabat, quas, illis libentissime dantibus, ita ut nec ad restitutionem teneretur, accipiens, eas egenis, quos prius habere contingeret obvios, in frigore porrigebat. 4Gravissimum erat illi, si alicui pauperum verbo vel facto perciperet quidquam molestiae fieri. 5Audiens enim tempore quodam unum e fratribus pauperi cuidam huiusmodi verbumm invectionis inferre: « Vide ne forsitan falso simules paupertatem! », 6durius increpatum fecit coram eodem paupere nudum procidere et, pedibus eius deosculatis humiliter ab ipso veniam postulare. 7Ait enim: « Qui pauperi maledicit, Christo facit iniuriam, cuius nobile signum gerit, qui voluntarie pauperem pro nobis in hoc mundo se fecit ». 8Ipse quoque, etsi minimum quid haberet corporalium virium, humeros tamen proprios saepius ad sublevanda supposuit onera pauperum. 9Quorum etiam pio zelo multa alia faciebat frequentius in hunc modum, quae, nisi brevitati studeremus, scribere non fuisset indignum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 401

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