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Alvares, Manuel, 1526-1583, et al. / Ethiopia Minor and a geographical account of the Province of Sierra Leone : (c. 1615)

Chapter 26: Discussion of the progress of Christianity and the most remarkable events connected with it,   pp. 1-29

Page 12

that figure of sanctity; that spirit totally inflamed by divine love,
indifferent to all that is lower and earthly as he was in union with the
Eternal, as free from the bonds of earth as he was securely attached to
those of heaven;   that figure of obedience, who although it was essential
for him to leave the Serra in order to safeguard the progress of our
affairs on Santiago Island, as our Padre-General had ordered him, dared
not do this because the letters (of instruction) had not yet reached him;
that very humble soul who asked me many times to tell him what I thought
he should do about the Journey, repeating the words of glorious St Martin,
"Si   a   o       tuc sum necessarius, non recuo laborem" E"If
people still need me, I accept the toilj . All these wise cautions were
employed only to show me that the doubt he entertained whether his Joprney
would be acceptable to his superiors gave him pain and was the whole reason
for his hesitation. To discover the divine will he practised not only the
holy exercise of prayer but, at the age of 75, the normal penitential
course with such rigour of fasting, wearing of a hairshirt and disciplining
of the body that I was amazed.
The obedience of the saint was always in the context of the cross,
so that in the eyes of God he might seem improved. I saw him in Angola,
I saw him crossing the sea for love of the Lord, then I saw him, between
about 72 and 75 living in Serra Leoa, a sterile land where confidence in
God can be more faithfully prsctised. (g) If the Blessed Father Francisco
called the Moro Islands the islands of Hope-in-God, I have no doubt that
he had come here he would have given this name to these wildernesses, perhaps
with more reason. I repeat that he lived in the context of the cross
(g) St Gregory said of Abraham that he loved his son when Isaac played
the (sacrificial role of Christ more than he did before that; and felt
affection for Isaac because he pictured the Lord carrying the cross on
his shoulders, represented by the bundle of firewood, even more than
he did because he was his own son.


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