The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 412 

Chapter XII


64Eighteen years after his conversion, the most blessed father Francis had been going around preaching with great difficulty through diverse parts of the world. He gave not even moderate rest to the flesh, which he had not ceased afflicting with new and unaccustomed kinds of discipline. Although in the past he had suffered many weaknesses, he nonetheless began to be oppressed by much more painful and chronic infirmities in the two years of his life which remained. But even though his flesh knew in advance it was approaching its natural dissolution and necessary failure, yet as much as it could, it still did not object to being held to the conditions of Francis’s accustomed exacting regimen. To so great an extent had the revered man mastered himself, and with such great harmony reconciled his body to his spirit, that he scarcely felt any resistance on the part of the flesh to those things which his spirit dictated had to be done.

Therefore, the holy man, most ready in spirit for every good, who up until now burned with such great zeal for souls, still did not cease to exert himself in preaching for the salvation of his neighbors. He caused his half-dead body to be carried around on an ass through towns and villages.

65The brothers kept trying to persuade and would beg him with a stream of requests to allow his infirmities to be helped by the care of doctors, particularly because they were observing him failing more and more every day. But he altogether refused to agree with the brothers in this matter. As one who had given no care to the body up to this time, he longed, as for a far better thing, to depart this life and be with Christ. Phil 1:23 But, even though he carried the marks of the Lord Jesus in his body, Gal 6:17 nevertheless, because it was fitting for those things which were lacking to the sufferings of Christ to be fulfilled Col 1:24 in him, he began to have a most grave illness of the eyes over and above his other weaknesses. Then the above-mentioned Brother Elias, whom he had put in place of a mother, as it were, to be shepherd over his flock even while




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

Caput XII

De iis quae ante mortem sustinuit, fecit et dixit; de fervore ipsius et patientia; et de transitu eius et exsequiis.

64 1Iam beatissimus pater Franciscus, annis a conversione sua decem et octo peractis, nullam vel modicam carni requiem dederat, sed per diversas mundi partes praedicando laboriose circuiens, inusitatis eam et novi generis disciplinis affligere non cessarat; 2et quamvis ei in multis languoribus effluxissent dies praeteriti, duobus tamen annis, qui adhuc vitae eius erant residui, gravioribus coepit et magis continuis infirmitatibus perurgeri. 3Sed et licet caro naturali corruptelae necessarioque se praesentiret propinquare defectui, non tamen adhuc dissensit, quantum poterat, sub assueti rigoris lege teneri. 4In tantum enim vir reverendus se sibi subiecerat, tantaque corpus harmonia spiritui concordarat, ut etiam carnis repugnantiam vix sentiret in omnibus quae spiritus agenda dictabat.

5Igitur vir sanctus spiritu ad omne bonum promptissimus, qui tanto hactenus animarum zelo fervebat, adhuc in praedicatione non desistens intendere proximorum saluti, corpus emortuum fecit in asino per civitates et castella circumvehi.

65 1Suadebant autem fratres eique cum omni precum instantia supplicabant, ut infirmitatibus suis medicorum auxilio subveniri permitteret: videntes utique quod de die in diem magis magisque deficeret. 2Ipse vero consentire in hoc fratribus penitus recusabat, veluti qui hactenus carnis curam non egerat, iamque dissolvi et esse cum Christo multo melius anhelabat. 3Verum quamvis stigmata Domini Iesu in corpore suo portaret, quia tamen in ipso oportuit ea quae passionum Christi deerant adhuc amplius adimpleri, coepit et aliis languoribus infirmitas oculorum gravissima superaddi. 4Tunc supradictus frater Helias, quem veluti loco matris elegerat et adhuc vivens gregi suo pastorem praefecerat,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 412