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 The Versified Life of Saint Francis  - 477 

60Their fear was that perchance his soul had vacated his body.
The spirit of prophecy was given him.
In unearthly manner he was aware
Of those predestined and of those foreknown
In Destiny's eternal and unbreakable chaina

65As she earnestly studies with every care
How she will damn the damned and choose the chosen;
Rejoicing to join to herself those like her, careful
To avoid those unlike her; and while guiding mistress of both,
Spurning neither, the first she cares for, the others nurtures.

70Friar Ricceriob was one who noticed that hidden from Francis
Was no plan of fate, no mind's dark secret.
He pondered his own excesses, things he once did,c
And dreaded his knowing of them. What hope had he
Of gaining his favor which he so much longed for?

75Let us not imagine Francis knew nothing of Riccerio's fears.
"Why, my Riccerio," said he, "are you afraid?
I bear you no hate. For whatever you did,
Your sin is mourned and pardon is yours. Lk 17:4 Gn 4:13
Doubt not that you are very dear to me."

80To draw his followers all the closer to him
The power used was the same, though different the sign given.
Many brothers gathered again, this time for chapter, the master
Away. Friar Anthony, bidden to preach, took as his theme:
"Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Jn 19:19 And *focusing

85His entire heart on heavenly things, Acts 7:55 his eyes he lifts up high Ps 123:1 [Vulgate, Ps 122:1]
Francis to see, his hands extended as though on a cross.d
To prove it was no illusion, no horrible fraud,
An unearthly sweet aura was there, and the souls
Of the brothers standing around with exultation Tb 3:22 were filled.

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Legenda Sancti Francisci Versificata, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Unde timent, vacuos ne forte reliquerit artus.
Cumque prophetiae datus illi spiritus esset,
Caelitus agnoscens et quos praedestinet et quos
Praesciat aeterni series firmissima fati,

65Ut reprobos reprobet, electos eligat, omni
Insudat studio, similes sibi iungere gaudens,
Dissimiles vitare studens, et utrosque magistrans,
Neutros aspernans, colit hos et sustinet illos.
Attendens frater Richerus, quod neque fati

70Consilium nec mentis eum secreta laterent,
Excessus recolendo suos, quos gesserat olim,
Quos et eum conscire timet, vix sperat ut eius
Optatum plene queat impetrare favorem.
Talem Franciscus Richeri ne videatur

75Ignorare metum: " Quid ", ait, " Richere, vereris?
Non te detestor; quidquid commiseris, ex quo
Delicti te poenituit veniamque mereris,
Ne dubites quin firma mihi sit gratia tecum ".
Quoque suos possit magis invitare sequaces,

80Est eadem virtus diverso prodita signo.
Collectis iterum multis, absente magistro,
Fratribus ad synodum, iussus benedicere frater
Antonius, ponens hoc thema: " Iesus Nazarenus
Rex Iudaeorum " , toto caelestia corde

85Intendens oculos levat in sublime, manusque
In cruce distensas Franciscum cernit habentem.
Quod ne credatur ausu simulasse nefando,
Caelitus infusa quadam dulcedine, fratrum
Mira coadstantum replet exsultatio mentes.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 477

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