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Innocence and Simplicity
St. Bonaventure
Source: Major Life of St. Francis
Published: Sunday, April 21, 2013

[St. Francis] reserved his most tender compassion for those creatures which are a natural reflection of Christ’s gentleness and are used in Sacred Scripture as figures of him. He often rescued lambs, which were being led off to be slaughtered, in memory of the Lamb of God who willed to be put to death to save sinners...

He was offered a present of a sheep at the Portiuncula and he accepted it gladly in his love of innocent and simplicity, two virtures which the image of a sheep naturally recalls. He exhorted the animal to give God praise and avoid offending the friars, and the sheep was careful to follow his instruction, just as if it realized the affection he had for it. If it was entering the church and heard the friars singing in the choir, it would go down on one knee spontaneously and bleat before the altar of our lady, the Mother of the Lamb, as if it were trying to greet her. At the elevation during Mass, it would bow profoundly on bended knees and reproach those who were not so devout by its very reverence, while giving the faithful an example of respect for the Blessed Sacrament.

St. Bonaventure, Major Life of St. Francis

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