The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 251 

and blessing the Creator and Ruler of all things in all the elements and creatures.

81 How great do you think was the delight the beauty of flowers brought to his soul whenever he saw their lovely form and noticed their sweet fragrance? He would immediately turn his gaze to the beauty of that flower, brilliant in springtime, sprouting from the root of Jesse. Is 11:1 By its fragrance 2 Cor 2:14 it raised up countless thousands of the dead. Whenever he found an abundance of flowers, he used to preach to them and invite them to praise the Lord, just as if they were endowed with reason.

Fields and vineyards,
rocks and woods,
and all the beauties of the field, Sir 24:19
flowing springs and blooming gardens,
earth and fire, air and wind:
all these he urged to love of God and to willing service.
Finally, he used to call all creatures
by the name of "brother" and "sister"
and in a wonderful way, unknown to others,
he could discern the secrets of the heart 1 Cor 14:25 of creatures
like someone who has already passed
into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. Rom 8:21

O good Jesus,
with the angels in heaven
he now praises you as wonderful, who, when placed on earth, Jb 20:4
preached you as lovable to all creatures.

82 Whenever he used to say your name, O holy Lord, he was moved in a way beyond human understanding. He was so wholly taken up in joy, filled with pure delight, that he truly seemed a new person of another age.a

For this reason he used to gather up any piece of writing, whether divine or human, wherever he found it: on the road, in the house, on the floor. He would reverently pick it up and put it in a sacred or decent place because the name of the Lord, or something pertaining to it, might be written there.

Once a brother asked why he so carefully gathered bits of writing, even writings of pagans where the name of the Lord does not appear.

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 356-358


in omnibus elementis et creaturis creatorem omnium ac gubernatorem glorificare, laudare ac benedicere non cessabat.

811Quantam putas eius menti exhilarationem florum speciositas importabat, cum eorum venustatis cerneret formam et suavitatis olentiam praesentiret? 2Statim ad illius floris pulchritudinem considerationis oculum deflectebat, qui, lucidus in vernali tempore de radice Iesse progrediens, ad odorem suum suscitavit innumera milia mortuorum. 3Cumque florum copiam inveniret, ita praedicabat eis et ad laudem eos dominicam invitabat ac si ratione vigerent.

4Sic et segetes et vineas,
lapides et silvas
et omnia speciosa camporum,
irrigua fontium et hortorum virentia quaeque,
terram et ignem, aerem et ventum
sincerissima puritate ad divinum monebat amorem et libens obsequium hortabatur.
5Omnes denique creaturas
fraterno nomine nuncupabat,
et modo praecellenti atque caeteris inexperto,
creaturarum occulta cordis acie decernebat,
utpote qui iam evaserat
in libertatem gloriae filiorum Dei.

6Nunc in caelis,
o bone Iesu,
te admirabilem laudat cum angelis,
qui certe in terra positus,
amabilem omnibus te praedicabat creaturis.

821Nam supra hominum intellectum afficiebatur, cum nomen tuum, sancte Domine, nominaret, et totus exsistens in iubilo ac incunditate castissima plenus, novus certe homo et alterius saeculi videbatur.

2Propterea ubicumque scriptum aliquid, sive divinum sive humanum, in via, in domo, seu in pavimento inveniebat, reverentissime colligebat illud et in sacro vel honesto reponebat loco,

ea reverentia qiuidem, ne ibi esset nomen Domini vel ad id pertinens scriptum.

3Enimvero cum a quodam fratre quadam die fuisset interrogatus, ad quid etiam paganorum scripta et ubi non erat nomen Domini, sic studiose colligeret, respondit dicens: « Fili, quia ibi litterae sunt , ex quibus componitur gloriosissimum Domini Dei nomen, 4Bonum quoque quod ibi est, non pertinet ad paganos, neque ad aliquos homines, sed ad solum Deum, 'cuius est omne bonum' ».

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 251