5 4 S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 7 - 2 Fa l l 2 0 2 1 3.3 The Integumentum Accentuates the Dignity of Man This allegory is called integumentum –“masking, obscuring” [3]. It finds its culmination in antiquity with Alain de Lille, Abelard and Bernardus Silvestris. This is an allegory that uses the motifs of ancient fable . It is a method of interpretation in which the true intention hides behind a mythical fable. The term comes from the Roman poetry of Virgil and Cicero ( De oratore I, 161), where it was synonymous with ambiguity , darkness – Lat. obscuritas . The narrated event coming from antiquity conceals a different meaning, which the author in antiquity indicated allegorically. Bernardus Silvestris – like Abelard – also believes that these pagan myths and their pagan author were inspired by God’s divine providence and they, too, bring a message of truth that is valuable for believ - ers (Karfíková 2005, 122). If allegory in Augustine hides its true meaning and indicates it only indirectly, the integumentum in these authors ulti- mately has several levels of indirect signifying, i.e. , several levels of concealment. 3.4 The Integumental Allegory – St. Francis’s Spirituality of Creature According to Hans Blumenberg, a new asymmetry arises in this period of this allegory – the reader no longer needs to be a scholar, as was the case with the first Augustinian alle - gory (Blumenberg 1984, 83). Instead, the reader may even be illiterate, with the allegory serving less as a source of intel - lectual understanding than of amazement. It is of interest that this dimension also contributed to the development of lay spirituality and the emphasizing of lay people – an example of which is St. Francis of Assisi. He even referred to himself as unstudied and ignorant (Lat. ignorans et idiota, illiteratus ), although he wrote more works and writings than the erudite St. Dominic. Developing themes about the world was equally close to him. In one letter, Lady Poverty accompanies Francis and points to the world with the words: “ This world is our monastery! ” ( Sacrum Commercium , chap. 63 in Francis of Assisi: The Prophet 2002). In addition, St. Francis, with his sense for the symbolic, also uses pagan rituals as a deep symbolism for conversion. St. Francis’s spirituality is typically sensual-physical (Rot - zetter 1989, 180), penetrated by the delicacy of poetry and a ritualistic attitude underlining the mimetic dimension of its interpretation. Francis understands creation as a universal book that can also be read by illiterates. Every small thing, every being becomes a letter for him, a sign of the deeper testimony of God and a better instrument of knowledge. Creation enables him to understand himself as a sign; that is why he often ritually uses various situations of his life as signs. He saw himself as a sign that unveils/enwraps the message of God. Such an allegory offers space for the demonstration of the saint’s particular poetic playfulness and creation that is not only a marginal phenomenon but the center of Franciscan spirituality (Rotzetter 1989, 202). In my opinion, the most