The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 246 

the glory and the disgrace of the holy man would reflect on himself, since he was the father set over the saint's household.

74 For Saint Francis clung to the bishop
as a son does to his father
and an only child to its mother, Lk 7:12
safely resting and sleeping in the lap 2 Sm 12:3 of his kindness.
The bishop filled the role and did the work of a shepherd,
but left the name of shepherd to the holy man.
Blessed Francis would foresee needs,
but that blessed lord would deliver what was foreseen.
There were many who plotted
to destroy
the new planting Ps 144:12 [Vulgate, Ps 143:12] of the Order at its beginning.
There were many trying to suffocate the chosen vineyard
Jer 2:21 which the Lord's hand had so kindly planted anew in the world.
There were many trying to steal and eat its first fresh fruit.
But all of these opponents were slain with the sword
of the venerable father and lord
and their efforts came to naught.
Acts 5:36 For he was a river of eloquence,
a wall of the Church,
a spokesman for truth,
and a lover of the humble.

That was a memorable and blessed day when the holy man of God committed himself to such a venerable lord. Once this lord was acting in Tuscany as legate of the Apostolic See, as he frequently did. Blessed Francis, not yet having many brothers and intending to go to France,a reached Florence where the bishop was then staying. At that time the two of them were not yet joined by close friendship, but their shared reputation for holy living joined them in mutual and affectionate charity.

75 Upon entering a city or area, it was blessed Francis's custom to visit the priests or bishops. Upon hearing there was such a great pontiff in Florence, he presented himself to the bishop's kindness with great reverence. When the lord bishop saw him, he received him humbly and




Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 349-350

quoniam in eum sancti gloria resultabat et dedecus, eo quod erat pater super eius familiam constitutus.

741Adhaeserat ei namque sanctus Franciscus,
tamquam filius patri
et unicus matri suae,
securus in sinu clementiae suae dormiens et quiescens.
2Pastoris certe ille implebat vicem et faciebat opus,
sed sancto viro pastoris reliquerat nomen.
3Beatus pater necessaria providebat,
sed felix ille dominus
provisa effectui mancipabat.
4O quanti, maxime in principio cum haec agerentur,
novellae plantationi ordinis insidiabantur ut perderent!
5O quanti electam vineam, quam dominica manus benignissime
novam in mundo plantabat, praefocare studebant!
6Quam multi primos et purissimos eius fructus furari et consumere nitebantur!
7Qui omnes tam reverendi patris et domini gladio interfecti
et ad nihilum sunt redacti.
8Erat enim rivus eloquentiae,
murus Ecclesiae,
veritatis assertor
et amator humilium.

9Benedicta proinde ac memorabilis dies illa, in qua sanctus Dei tam venerabili domino se commisit. 10Cum enim tempore quodam dominus iste legatione, sicut saepe solebat, pro Sede Apostolica in Tuscia fungeretur, beatus Franciscus, non multos adhuc fratres habens et volens in Franciam ire, devenit Florentiam, ubi iam tunc dictus episcopus morabatur.11Nondum alter alteri erat praecipua familiaritate coniunctus, sed sola fama beatae vitae mutua eos et affectuali iunxerat charitate.

751Caeterum quia moris erat beati Francisci, cum aliquam civitatem vel terram ingrederetur, ad episcopos vel sacerdotes accedere, audiens de praesentia tanti pontificis, magna cum reverentia eius se clementiae praesentavit.2Quem dominus episcopus videns, humili devotione suscepit,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 246