The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 411 

Therefore, with such pearls as these manifest in him, the man of God strove to keep hidden from the eyes of all that most precious treasure with which the Lord, by a special privilege, had enriched him, lest he incur even the slightest loss which might result from those close to him coming to know about the stigmata. And so it happened that, because he was accustomed to reveal only rarely and to a very few the most important mysteries, the mystery of the stigmata, which had been so gloriously manifested in him, remained long unknown, even to his friends.a

63Thinking it most dangerous to appear famous in the eyes of men, and believing one’s hidden blessings to be greater than those which are brought to public notice, he very often kept this prophecy on his lips: Your words I have hidden away in my heart so that I do not sin against you. Ps 119:11 [Vulgate, Ps 118:11] He also instructed the brothers who were his constant companions that if, when he was engaged with strangers, they heard him recite the aforementioned psalm, they should extricate him courteously from the conversation, lest he drift into saying things damaging to himself.

Thus only Brother Elias merited to see—and only by chance—the wound in Francis’s side, for the man of God carefully concealed it as long as he lived. But Brother Rufino, when allowed to scratch him, felt it palpably with his hand, but only by chance.b At his touch, the holy man groaned, experienced most acute pain, and reproved the brother, adding that the Lord would forgive him for this.

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


5Talibus igitur vir Dei in se resultantibus margaritis, studuit summopere pretiosissimum illum thesaurum, quo speciali eum Dominus praerogativa ditaverat, ab omnium omnino viventium oculis conservare reconditum, ne quod vel minimum conscii cuiusquam familiaritatis occasione fortassis incurreret detrimentum. 6Unde et quia rarissime perpaucis praecipua consueverat revelare mysteria, ea quoque, quae tam gloriose parebant in ipso, maxime sibi familiaribus diu erant incognita.

63 1Periculosum enim existimans inclitum apparere in oculis hominum, sed et pro magno non reputans occulta quorumlibet bona non esse maiora iis quae proferuntur in publicum, ruminabat multoties illud in ore propheticum: In corde meo abscondi eloquia tua, ut non peccem tibi. 2Fratribus quoque circa ipsum conversantibus dederat tale signum, ut si quando eum cum extraneis occupatum praedictum versiculum recitare perciperent, illum, ne forsitan in verba sibi nociva difflueret, curialiter ab eorumdem colloquiis expedirent.

3Itaque vulnus lateris, quoadusque vixit in corpore, diligenter viro Dei celante, solus hoc frater Helias casu utcumque prospicere meruit. 4Frater vero Rufinus, ad eum scalpendum admissus, manu illud sensibiliter, sed fortuito, contrectavit; 5ad cuius contactum vir sanctus remurmurans gravissime doluit, et iam dictum fratrem inculpans, ut hoc sibi Dominus indulgeret adiunxit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 411

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