The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 248 

their cloaks or furs. As they responded even more gladly than the blessed father asked, he used to say to them, "I shall accept this from you only on the condition that you never expect to have it returned." The first poor man who happened to meet him, he would then clothe with whatever he had received, exulting and rejoicing.

He was deeply troubled whenever he saw one of the poor insulted or heard a curse Jos 8:34 hurled at any creature. It happened that a certain brother insulted a poor man begging alms, saying: "Are you sure that you are not really rich and just pretending to be poor?" When Saint Francis, the father of the poor, Jb 29:16 heard this, he was deeply hurt and he severely rebuked the brother who had said these things. Then he ordered the brother to strip naked in front of the poor man and to kiss his feet, to beg his forgiveness. He used to say: "Anyone who curses the poor insults Christ whose noble banner the poor carry, since Christ made himself poor for us in this world." 2 Cor 8:9 That is also why, when he met poor people burdened with wood or other heavy loads, he would offer his own weak shoulders to help them.

77 The holy man overflowed with the spirit of charity, bearing within himself a deep sense of concern not only toward other humans in need but also toward mute, brute animals: reptiles, birds, and all other creatures whether sensate or not. But among all the different kinds of creatures, he loved lambs with a special fondness and spontaneous affection, since in Sacred Scripture the humility of our Lord Jesus Christ is frequently and rightly compared to the lamb. He used to embrace more warmly and to observe more gladly anything in which he found an allegorical likeness to the Son of God.

Once he was making a journey through the Marches of Ancona and preached the word of the Lord Acts 15:36 in the city. Then he took the road toward Osimo, with lord Paul, the one whom he had appointed minister Acts 26:16 of all the brethren in that province. He came upon a shepherd in the fields pasturing a flock of goats. There was one little sheep walking humbly and grazing calmly among these many goats. When blessed Francis saw it, he stopped in his tracks, and touched with sorrow in his heart, Gn 6:6 he groaned loudly, and said to the brother accompanying him: "Do you see that sheep walking so meekly among those goats? I tell you, in the same way our Lord Jesus Christ, meek and humble, Mt 11:29 walked among the Pharisees and chief priests. So I ask you, my son, in your love for Him to share my compassion for this little sheep. After we have paid for it, let us lead this little one from the midst Ps 136:11 [Vulgate, Ps 135:11] of these goats."




Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 351

postulabat in magnis frigoribus a divitibus huius saeculi mantellum seu pelles praestari sibi. 4Qui cum devote libentius id facerent quam ab eis pater beatissimus postularet, dicebat eis: « Tali tenore hoc a vobis recipiam, quod rehabere de caetero nullatenus exspectetis ». 5Cumque aliquis ex pauperibus ei primitus obviaret, exsultans et gaudens ex accepto pauperem induebat.

6Molestissimum erat ei, cum alicui pauperum cerneret exprobrari, vel in aliquam creaturarum maledictionis verbum audiret ab aliquo intorqueri. 7Unde accidit, ut frater quidam cuidam pauperi eleemosynam postulanti verbum invectionis inferret, dicens: « Vide, ne forte sis dives et simules paupertatem ».8Quod audiens pater pauperum, sanctus Franciscus, graviter doluit et fratrem talia proferentem durissime increpavit, praecepitque ei ut se coram paupere denudaret ac, pedes eius deosculans, veniam postularet. 9Aiebat namque: « Qui pauperi maledicit, Christo iniuriam facit, cuius portat nobile signum, qui 'se pro nobis fecit pauperem in hoc mundo' ». —10Frequenter proinde, inveniens pauperes lignis vel aliis sarcinis oneratos, ad adiuvandum illos proprios humeros, licet nimium debiles, supponebat.

771Affluebat spiritu charitatis, pietatis viscera gestans, non solum erga homines necessitatem patientes verum etiam erga muta brutaque animalia, reptilia, volatilia et caeteras sensibiles et insensibiles creaturas. 2Sed in omni genere animalium speciali dilectione ac promptiore affectu agniculos diligebat, eo quod Domini nostri Iesu Christi humilitas in Scripturis sacris agno assimilatur frequentius et convenientius coaptatur. 3Sic et omnia illa, praecipue in quibus Filii Dei posset aliqua similitudo allegorica reperiri, amplexabatur carius et videbat libentius.

4Nam cum tempore quodam iter faceret per Marchiam de Ancona, et in eadem civitate verbum Domini praedicasset, ac versus Auximum cum domino Paulo, quem ministrum constituerat omnium fratrum in eadem provincia, iter arripuisset, invenit in campis pastorem quemdam, caprarum et hircorum gregem pascentem. 5Eratque inter caprarum et hircorum pluritatem ovicula una, pergens humilius et quietius pascens. —6Quam cum videret beatus Franciscus, fixit gradum et tactus dolore cordis intrinsecus, altius ingemiscens , dixit ad fratrem qui comitabatur eum: « Numquid non ovem hanc cernis, quae inter has capras et hircos sic ambulat mansueta? 7Ita, dico tibi, quia Dominus noster Iesus Christus inter pharisaeos et principes sacerdotum mitis et humilis ambulabat. 8Rogo te propterea, fili, per charitatem ipsius, ut mecum huic compatiaris oviculae, et, soluto pretio, de medio istarum caprarum et hircorum educamus eam ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 248