The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 266 

Chapter IV
THE FERVOR OF BLESSED FRANCIS AND THE DISEASE OF HIS EYES

97 During this same period his body began to be afflicted with different kinds of illness, and more severe than usual. Since he had over many years chastised his body and brought it into subjection, he suffered infirmities often. During the course of the eighteen years which by then had passed, his flesh rarely or never had any rest, as he traveled through many distant regions, so that the willing spirit, the devout spirit, and the fervent spirit which dwelt within him might scatter everywhere the seed of the word of God. 2 Cor 7:5 Gn 41:46 He filled the whole world with the gospel of Christ; in the course of one day often visiting four or five towns and villages, proclaiming to every one the good news of the kingdom of God, edifying his listeners by his example as much as by his words, as he made of his whole body a tongue. Wis 1:7 Mk 6:6 Lk 8:1

There was in him such harmony of flesh with spirit
and such obedience that,
as the spirit strove to reach all holiness,
the flesh did not resist
but even tried to run on ahead,
according to the saying:
For you my soul has thirsted;
and my flesh in so many ways! Ps 63:2 [Vulgate, Ps 62:2]
Repeated submission became spontaneous,
as the flesh, yielding each day,
reached a place of great virtue,
for habit often becomes nature.a

98 According to the laws of nature and the human condition day by day the body must decay though the inner being is renewed. 2 Cor 4:16 So the precious vessel in which the heavenly treasure was hidden began to shatter all over and lose all its strength. Mt 13:44 Yet when a man has finished, then he will begin and when he has finished, then he will start to work. Sir 18:6 And so the spirit became willing in the flesh that was weak. Mt 26:41 He so desired the salvation of souls and longed to benefit his neighbors that, even

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 373-374


Caput IV
De fervore beati Francisci et infirmitate oculorum eius.

97 1Per eiusdem igitur temporis curricula coepit corpus suum variis urgeri languoribus et vehementioribus quam prius solitum esset .2Frequentes namque patiebatur infirmitates, utpote qui perfecte castigaverat corpus suum, et illud in servitutem redegerat ex multis iam praecedentibus annis.3Nam per decem et octo annorum spatium, quod tunc erat expletum, vix aut numquam requiem habuerat caro sua, varias et longissimas circuiens regiones, ut spargeret ubique semina verbi Dei spiritus ille promptus , spiritus ille devotus, spiritus ille fervens qui eam inhabitabat.4Replebat omnem terram Evangelio Christi, ita ut una die quatuor aut quinque castella vel etiam civitates saepius circuiret, evangelizans unicuique regnum Dei, et non minus exemplo quani verbo aedificans audientes, de toto corpore fecerat linguam.

5Tanta enim in eo carnis ad spiritum erat concordia,
tanta obedientia,
quod cum ille omnem niteretur apprehendere sanctitatem,
ipsa nihilominus non solum non repugnabat,
sed et praecurrere satagebat,
iuxta quod scriptum est:
Sitivit in te anima mea,
quam multipliciter tibi caro mea.
6Assiduitas vero subiectionis fecerat eam voluntariam,
et ex quotidiana inclinatione sui,
situm apprehenderat tantae virtutis,
quoniam consuetudo saepe vertitur in naturam.

98 1Sed quoniam secundum iura naturae, humanaeque conditionis modum necesse est quod de die in diem homo exterior corrumpatur, licet is qui intus est renovetur, illud pretiosissimum vasculum in quo caelestis thesaurus erat absconditus, coepit undique conquassari et virium omnium pati defectum. 2Verum quia cum consummatus fuerit homo tunc incipiet, et cum finierit tunc operabitur, in carne infirma spiritus promptior efficiebatur. 3Tantum quoque animarum, diligebat salutem et proximorum sitiebat lucra, ut cum per se ambulare non posset,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 266

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