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 The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 261 


as if he had hung on the cross with the Son of God.
This is a great sacrament,
and evidence of the grandeur of a special love.
But there is hidden here some secret;
here is concealed some awesome mystery,
one we believe is known to God alone,
though it was partly revealed by the Saint to one person.
For this reason it is useless to try to praise him,
whose praise is from the One Who is
the praise of all, their origin and greatest honor,
the giver of the gifts of light.
Now blessing God, holy, glorious, and true,
let us return to our story.

Chapter II
THE HIGHEST DESIRE OF BLESSED FRANCIS AND HOW IN OPENING THE BOOK HE UNDERSTOOD THE LORD’S WILL FOR HIM

91 At one time the blessed and venerable father Francis, with worldly crowds gathering eagerly every day to hear and see him, sought out a place of rest and secret solitude. He desired to free himself for God and shake off any dust that clung to him Lk 10:11 from the time spent with the crowds.a It was his custom to divide the time given him to merit grace and, as seemed best, to spend some of it to benefit his neighbors and use the rest in the blessed solitude of contemplation. He took with him only a few companions—who knew his holy way of living better than others—so that they could shield him from the interruption and disturbance of people, respecting and protecting his silence in every way.

After he had been there for some time, through unceasing prayer and frequent contemplation, he reached intimacy with God in an indescribable way. He longed to know what in him and about him was or could be most acceptable to the Eternal King. Ps 29:10 [Vulgate, Ps 28:10] He sought this diligently and devoutly longed to know in what manner, in what way, and with what desire he would be able to cling more perfectly to the Lord God, according to His counsel and the good pleasure of His will. Ps 73:28 [Vulgate, Ps 72:28] Sir 40:25 This was

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 366-367


ac si in cruce cum Dei Filio pependisset.
8Sacramentum hoc magnum est
et praerogativae dilectionis indicat maiestatem;
sed arcanum in eo latet consilium
et reverendum contegitur mysterium,
quod soli Deo cognitum credimus,
et per ipsum sanctum ex parte cuidam revelatum.
9Propterea in eius laudibus non expedit multa tentare,
cuius laus ab Ipso est,
qui est laus omnium, fons et honor fortissimus,
dans praemia lucis.
10Benedicentes igitur Deum sanctum, verum et gloriosum,
ad historiam recurramus.

Caput II
De summo desiderio beati Francisci, et qualiter in libri apertione intellexit de se Domini voluntatem.

91 1Tempore quodam beatus et venerabilis pater Franciscus, relictis saecularibus turbis, quae ad audiendum et videndum eum quotidie devotissime concurrebant, locum quietis et secretum solitudinis petiit, cupiens ibi vacare Deo et extergere, si quid pulveris sibi ex conversatione hominum adhaesisset.2Mos eius erat tempus impensum sibi ad gratiam promerendam dividere, et, prout oportere videbat aliud proximorum lucris impendere, aliud contemplationis beatis secessibus consummare. —3Assumpsit proinde secum socios valde paucos, quibus eius conversatio sancta magis quam caeteris nota erat, ut tuerentur eum ab incursu et conturbatione hominum, et suam quietem in omnibus diligerent ac servarent.

4Cumque illic aliquamdiu permansisset, et oratione continua frequentique contemplatione divinam familiaritatem modo ineffabili fuisset adeptus, quid aeterno Regi de se et in se foret acceptius aut esse posset, cognoscere cupiebat .5Curiosissime exquirebat et piissime anhelabat scire, quali modo, quali via aut quali desiderio Domino Deo valeret, iuxta consilium et beneplacitum e voluntatis suae, perfectius adhaerere.

6Haec summa eius philosophia semper fuit,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 261

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