The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 249 

78 Brother Paul was struck by his sorrow and also began to feel that sorrow himself. They had nothing except the cheap tunics they wore and they were concerned about how to pay for the sheep, when suddenly a traveling merchant arrived and offered to pay for what they wanted. Taking up the sheep, they gave thanks to God and after reaching Osimo made their way to the bishop of the city, who received them with great reverence. Now the lord bishop was surprised both at the sheep the man of God 2 Kgs 24:9 was leading and at the affection for it that was leading him to do this. But when the servant of Christ recounted the long parable of the sheep, the bishop was touched in his heart Acts 2:37 by the purity of the man of God, and gave thanks to God. Acts 27:35

The next day, on leaving the city, the man of God began to wonder what to do with the sheep. On the advice of his companion and brother, he entrusted it to the care of the maidservants of Christ in the cloister of San Severino. The venerable servants of Christ gladly received the little sheep as a great gift from God. 2 Mc 15:16 They devotedly cared for the sheep for a long time and made a tunic from its wool, a tunic they sent to the blessed father Francis at the church of Saint Mary of the Portiuncula at the time of a chapter meeting. The holy man of God received the tunic with great reverence and high spirits, hugging and kissing it, and invited all those around him to share this great joy.

79 On another occasion he was traveling through the Marches and the same brother was gladly accompanying him when he came across a man on his way to market. The man was carrying over his shoulder two little lambs bound and ready for sale. When blessed Francis heard the bleating lambs, his innermost heart was touched 1 Kgs 3:26 and, drawing near, he touched them as a mother does with a crying child, showing his compassion. "Why are you torturing my brother lambs," he said to the man, "binding and hanging them this way?" "I am carrying them to market to sell them, since I need the money," he replied. The holy man asked: "What will happen to them?" "Those who buy them will kill them and eat them," he responded. At that, the holy man said: "No, this must not happen! Here, take my cloak as payment and give me the lambs." The man readily gave him the little lambs and took the cloak since it was much more valuable. The cloak was one the holy man had borrowed from a friend on the same day to keep out the cold. The holy man of God, having taken the lambs, now was wondering what he should do with them. Asking for advice from the brother who was with him, he gave them back to that man, ordering him never to sell them or allow

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 353-355


781Frater Paulus vero, eius dolorem admirans, coepit ipsemet etiam condolere. 2Cum autem nihil, praeter viles tunicas quibus induebantur, haberent et solliciti de solvendo pretio exsisterent, statim quidam mercator iter agens adfuit et pretium obtulit quod optabant .3At ipsi gratias agentes Deo, suscepta ove, Auximum pervenerunt et introeuntes ad episcopum civitatis, ab ipso magna cum reverentia sunt suscepti. 4Mirabatur tamen dominus episcopus et de ove, quam vir Dei, ducebat, et de affectu quo erga eam ducebatur. 5Sed cum Christi servus longam sibi de ove sermonis parabolam retexisset, corde compunctus episcopus super viri Dei puritatem, gratias egit Deo.

6Die vero sequenti egressus de civitate et cogitans quidnam de ove faceret, de consilio consocii et fratris sui, eam in quodam claustro famularum Christi apud Sanctum Severinum tradidit conservandam. 7Venerabiles quoque ancillae Christi, velut magnum munus sibi a Deo datum, gaudentes oviculam susceperunt. 8Quam temporibus multis sollicite custodientes, de lana ipsius tunicam texuerunt et eam beato patri Francisco apud ecclesiam Sanctae Mariae in Portiuncula, tempore cuiusdam capituli, transmiserunt. 9Quam cum magna reverentia et animi exsultatione sanctus Dei suscipiens et amplexans, deosculabatur eam, omnes invitans ad tantum, gaudium circumstantes.

791Alia vero vice cum per eamdem Marchiam transiret, eodem fratre ipsum alacriter comitante, viro cuidam obviavit, qui duos agniculos suspensos et ligatos in humero suo ad forum, ut venderet, deportabat. 2Cumque agnos balantes beatus Franciscus audisset, commota sunt viscera eius o , et appropinquans tetigit eos, quasi mater super plorantem filium, affectum compassionis ostendens. 3Et ait ad virum: « Quare fratres meos agnos sie ligatos et suspensos exerucias? 4Qui respondens ait: « Eos ad forum porto, ut vendam, pretii necessitate compulsus ». 5Et ait sanctus: « Quid postea fiet de illis? ». Ad quem ille: « Emptores, inquit, eos interficient et manducabunt ». 6« Absit! » respondit sanctus, « non fiat istud! sed tolle pro pretio mantellum quem porto et agnos mihi concede ». 7Qui alacri animo agniculos tribuit, et mantellum suscepit, quoniam multo maioris pretii erat mantellus, quem causa frigoris expellendi sanctus a quodam fideli viro mutuo susceperat ea die.8Caeterum sanctus apud se, susceptis agniculis, quid de ipsis faceret sollicitus cogitabat, 9et habito consilio fratris associantis eum, eos viro illi reddidit gubernandos, 10praecepitque sibi, ne ullo tempore venderet eos, nee malum aliquod, eis inferret, sed conservaret, nutriret et regeret studiose.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 249