The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 182 

The First Book

TO THE PRAISE AND GLORY OF GOD ALMIGHTY,THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN. HERE BEGINS THE LIFE OF OUR MOST BLESSED FATHER FRANCIS.

Chapter I
HOW HE LIVED IN THE CLOTHING AND SPIRIT OF THE WORLD

1In the city of Assisi, which is located in the confines of the Spoleto valley, there was a man Jb 1:1 named Francis. From the earliest years of his life his parents reared him to arrogance in accordance with the vanity of the age.a And by long imitating their worthless life and character he himself was made more vain and arrogant.b

A most wicked custom has been so thoroughly ingrained among those regarded as Christians, and this pernicious teaching has been so universally affirmed and prescribed, as though by public law, that, as a result, they are eager to bring up their children from the very cradle too indulgently and carelessly. For when they first begin to speak or babble, little children just born are taught shameful and detestable things by gestures and utterances. And when the time of weaning arrives, they are compelled not only to say but to devote themselves to things full of excess and lewdness. Compelled by the anxiety of youth, they are not bold enough to conduct themselves honorably, since in doing so they would be subject to harsh discipline. A secular poet puts it eloquently:

Since we have grown up with the training of our parents, all sorts of evils pursue us from our childhood.c

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 277


OPUSCULUM PRIMUM.

Ad laudem et gloriam Dei omnipotentis Patris et Filii
et Spiritus Sancti. Amen.
Incipit vita beatissimi patris nostri Francisci.

Caput I — Qualiter conversatus sit in habitu et animo saeculari.

1 1Vir erat in civitate Assisii, quae in finibus vallis Spoletanae sita est, nomine Franciscus, qui a primaevo aetatis suae anno a parentibus secundum saeculi vanitatem nutritus est insolenter et ipsorum miseram vitam diu imitatus et mores, vanior ipse atque insolentior est effetus. — 2Quoniam haec pessima consuetudo apud eos, qui christiano censentur nomine, sic undique inolevit et perniciosa doctrina haec, velut lege publica, ita ubique firmata est et praescripta, ut ab ipsis cunabulis remisse nimis et dissolute filios suos studeant educare.3Primo namque cum fari vel balbutire incipiunt, turpia quaedam et exsecrabilia valde, signis et vocibus edocentur pueruli nondum nati: et cum tempus ablactationis advenerit, quaedam luxu et lascivia plena non solum fari sed et operari coguntur.4Non audet aliquis illorum, aetatis timore coactus, honeste se gerere, quoniam ex hoc duris subiacet disciplinis .5Ideo bene ait saecularis poëta:

« Quia inter exercitationes parentum crevimus,
ideo a pueritia nos omnia mala sequuntur ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 182

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