The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 408 

Chapter XI

HIS ZEAL FOR PRAYER AND HIS STRUGGLE WITH THE DEVIL; THE CONSTANCY OF HIS PREACHING, THE OPENING OF A BOOK AND THE VISION OF THE CRUCIFIED SERAPH; AND THE STIGMATA OF CHRIST APPEARING IN HIM.

57Truly, in regard to all those things which the glorious father Francis intended to do and did, his safest refuge was frequent prayer. Although he worked with the most ardent zeal for the good of those around him, he nonetheless most diligently took pains lest he neglect to tend to himself in every pursuit of perfection. To this end, he sought out solitary places and made his abode in the wilderness; but, while living among people, he went alone at night to deserted houses or churches.

O what great terrors he endured in places of this sort, and how many tricks of the devil he overcame! The evil one not only frequently tempted him from within by thoughts that imperiled his immortal soul, but he also fought hand to hand against the devil in frightful appearance.

Boldly, he chose such places, I say, so that he might keep guard over himself in prayer; there, he first learned what he later taught others. However, he learned not so that he might painstakingly invent words to speak, but that thus, above and beyond the ways of human learning, he might drink most fully of the richness of heavenly wisdom, in order that he might be full, not so much with words as with the power of the Spirit Rom 15:13 which might sprinkle upon his neighbors when the right time came.a

58For even if, when he thought he was prepared to say this or that, it happened that when he came to preach he forgot all those things he had thought out beforehand, and did not have anything at all to say, not even then was he ashamed to admit his failing in front of everyone, and thus, all of a sudden, he began to overflow with a miraculous eloquence

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


Caput XI

De studio orationis et conflictu eius cum diabolo; de constantia praedicationis; de apertione libri et visione Seraph crucifixi, et de apparentibus in ipso Christi stigmatibus.

57 1Ad omnia vero quae gloriosus pater Franciscus intendit et fecit tutissimum eius refugium oratio crebra fuit. 2Nam etsi ardentissimo zelo proximorum lucris intenderet, studuit tamen summopere, ne sui ipsius curam in omni perfectionis experimento negligeret. 3Ad hoc solitaria loca quaesivit, ad hoc in eremi vastitate resedit; sed et inter homines liabitans, ad ecclesias domosve desertas solus nocte perrexit.

4O quantos in huiusmodi locis terrores, quantaque diaboli machinamenta devicit! 5Cui non solum intus malignus ille pestifera saepe suggessit, sed et in aliqua horrenda effigie manu ad manum cum illo conflixit.

6Talia, inquam, loca intrepidus, ut in oratione sibimet invigilaret, elegit; ibi prius didicit, quae postmodum alios docuit. 7Didicit autem non ut curiose quae loqueretur verba confingeret, sed sic supra modulum eruditionis humanae ex affluentia doctrinae caelestis uberrime bibens, ut non tam verbis quam virtute Spiritus ad eructandum proximis opportuno tempore plenus esset.

58 1Nam, etsi quando haec vel illa dicere cogitasset, accidit ut ad praedicandum veniens omnium illorum quae praecogitarat oblitus, omnino quid diceret non haberet; 2sed nec tunc quidem defectum suum confiteri coram cunctis erubuit, et sic subito mira verborum eloquentia affluere coepit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 408

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