From "The Little Flowers, Legends, and Lauds"

Edited by Otto Karrer,
Translated by N.Wydenbruck
1979, Sheed & Ward, London.

E.Morrogh Bernard,
Vicar General, Westminister
Aug.14, 1947

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How St.Francis freed a friar from the Devil (23)

Once when St.Francis was praying in the hermitage of Portiuncula, he was vouchsafed a vision in which he saw the whole place surrounded and besieged by demons, as by a great army. But not one of them could penetrate inside the place, because the brothers there were of such saintliness that they could find none through whom they might enter. But as they persevered, one of those brothers quarreled with another and planned in his heart how he might accuse the other and be revenged on him. Therefore, as this brother was harbouring this wicked thought, the devil found the door open and entered into the house, and set himself upon that brother's neck.

The compassionate and solicitous shepherd who ever watched over his flocks saw that the wolf had come in to devour one of his lambs, and forthwith he sent for that brother. And he commanded him instantly to confess the poisonous hatred he had conceived against his neighbor, for which reason he had fallen into the hands of the enemy. Terrified at seeing his secret thoughts known by the holy father, he revealed all his venom and rancour and admitted his sin, pleading humbly for a merciful penance. Then he received absolution from his sin, and when he had received penance the devil immediately got him gone before St.Francis.

And the friar, having thus been freed from the clutches of the cruel beast by the loving kindness of the good shepherd, gave thanks to God and returned corrected and chastened to the flock of that holy shepherd where he lived from then on in great sanctity. Praise be to Christ, Amen.

How St.Francis tamed the turtle-doves that had been given them (22)

One day a youth had caught many turtle-doves and was going to sell them. St.Francis met him, an as he always had a singular pity for all gentle beasts, he looked pitifully at the doves and said to the young man: "O good youth, I beg you give them to me, so that these innocent birds, to whom Holy Scriptures compare the souls that are chaste, humble and faithful, should not fall into the hands of cruel men who would slaughter them."

And immediately the youth, inspired by God, gave all the birds to St.Francis, who took them into his lap and began to talk to them gently, saying "O my sisters, you simple, innocent and chaste turtle-doves, why do you let yourselves be caught? But see, I will deliver you from death and make nests for you, so that you can be fruitful and multiply according to the commandment of your Creator." And St.Francis went and made nests for all of them. And the doves used them, laid eggs and hatched them under the eyes of the friars; and they lived so tamely with St.Francis and all the other brothers that one could have taken them for chickens raised by their hands. And they never flew away, unless St.Francis blessed them and gave them leave to go. And to the youth who had given them to him, St.Francis said: "My son, you will yet be a brother of this Order, graciously serving Jesus Christ." And so it happened ; the said youth became a friar and lived in the Order with great saintliness. Praise be to Christ, Amen.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How St.Francis converted the ferocious wolf of Gubbio (21)

At the time when St.Francis was staying in the city of Gubbio there appeared an enormous, terrible and ferocious wolf who not only devoured animals, but even men, so that all the citizens lived in great fear, for the wolf often came quite close the city, and when they went outside the walls they armed themselves as if they were going to battle. Yet even so they could not defend themselves against him if they happened to be along when they met him. Through fear of this wolf they got to the point that nobody was bold enough to venture outside the city.

For this reason St.Francis, in his compassion for the men of the city, decided to go outside to that wolf, although all the citizens advised him not to do so. And signing himself with the sign of the Holy Cross, he went out of the city with his companions, setting all his trust in God. And as the others were afraid to go any further, St.Francis alone took the road towards the place where the wolf was.

Thereupon, seeing so many citizens who had come to witness the miracle, the said wolf bounded towards St.Francis with his mouth open. St.Francis approached him and made the sign of the cross over him, saying: "Come hither, Brother wolf: I command you in the name of Christ to hurt no one, neither me nor anyone else."

Marvelous to relate; as soon as St.Francis had made the sign of the cross, the terrible wolf closed his mouth and stopped running, and when the Saint had uttered the command, he came up as gently as a lamb and lay down at St.Francis' feet.

Then St.Francis spoke to him as follows: "Brother Wolf, you do great damage in these parts, and you have committed very evil deeds, destroying and killing God's creatures without His permission, and you have not only slain and devoured beasts, but you have had the temerity to kill men who are made in the image of God. For this reason you deserve to be put to death, as the robber and wicked homicide you are. And all the people cry out and murmur against you, and the whole of this country is your enemy. But I, Brother Wolf, wish to make peace between you and them; provided you offend no more they will forgive you all your past offences and neither men nor dogs will persecute you anymore."

When St.Francis had uttered these words, the wolf showed by the movements of his body, his tail and his ears and by inclining his head that he accepted what the Saint had said and that he would observe it. Then St.Francis said: "Brother Wolf, as you are pleased to make and to hold this peace, I promise that I will see that you are provided for as long as you live by the men of this town, so that you shall never go hungry, for I know well that hunger made you do all this evil. But when I obtain this grace for you, I want you Brother Wolf, to promise me that you will harm no man and no animal; will you promise me this?

And the wolf, by bowing his head, signified clearly that he promised. And St.Francis said: "Brother Wolf, I want you to confirm this promise, so that I can place my trust in it." And St.Francis stretched out his hand and laid it submissively on to the Saint's hand, thus confirming his promise as best he could.

Then St.Francis said: "Brother Wolf, I now command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come with me in all confidence, and we will go and make this peace in God's name." The wolf obediently went with him, gentle as a lamb. The citizens, seeing this, were greatly amazed. Immediately the news spread all over the town, wherefore all the people, big and small, men and women, old and young, hurried to the market-place to see the wolf with St.Francis. As all the people were assembled there, St.Francis arose and preached to them. And at the end of his sermon the Saint said: "Listen, my brothers. Brother Wolf, who is here before you, has promised me and confirmed his word to make peace with you and not to offend you in anything ever again, if you promise to provide him with the necessary food every day, and I will stand bail for him that he will truly observe his pact with you."

Then all the people with one voice promised to feed the wolf from then on.

The said wolf lived two years in Gubbio, and went tamely into the houses from door to door, without doing any harm to anyone or having any harm done to him. The people fed him courteously, and as he went through the town and into the houses not a single dog barked at him. At the end of two years Brother Wolf died of old age, and the citizens mourned him deeply, for, seeing him pass so gently through the town, they had been reminded of the virtue and saintliness of St.Francis. Praise to be Christ, Amen.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How St.Francis went to Rieti for the cure of his eyes. The miracle of the vinyard. (19)

Once when St.Francis was suffering from a grave infirmity of the eyes, Messer Ugolino, the Cardinal protector of the Order, because of the great tenderness he felt towards him, wrote to St.Francis asking him to come to him at Rieti, where there were the best physicians of the eyes. When St.Francis received the Cardinal's letter, he first went to St.Clare, the most devout spouse of Christ, at San Damiano, to give her some consolation and then go to the Cardinal. In the night following St.Francis' arrival there, his eyes grew so much worse that he could no longer see the light. As he was therefore unable to depart, St.Clare caused a cabin of reeds to be made for him, so that he might rest there. (There he stayed for fifty days.) But the pain of his infirmity was so great, beside the multitude of mice which were a very great nuisance to him, that St.Francis could find no rest, neither by day nor by night. And as he endured more of these pains and tribulations he began to ponder and to realize that they were a scourge of God for his sins. And he began to thank God with all his heart and with his lips, and he cried out in a loud voice, saying:

"My Lord, I am worthy of this and of worse ills. My Lord Jesus Christ, Thou good shepherd who hast shown us unworthy sinners Thy mercy by diverse pains and bodily anguish, grant grace and virtue to me, Thy little sheep, that through no infirmity, anguish of suffering I may be divided from Thee.

When he had uttered this prayer, a voice from heaven spoke to him thus: "Francis, answer Me. If the whole earth were gold, and all the seas and rivers and springs were balm, and all the mountains, hills and rocks were precious stones, and you were to find a treasure so far superior to these things as gold is superior to earth, balm to water and precious stones to mountains and rocks, and if th is noble treasure were given you by this infirmity, should you not be content and well pleased?"

St.Francis answered: "Lord, I am not worthy of so precious a treasure." And God's voice said to him: "Rejoice, Francis, for this treasure is eternal life which I reserve for you, and from now on I invest you with it, and this infirmity and afflictions is a pledge of that blessed treasure."

Thereupon St.Francis called his companion, rejoicing greatly at so glorious a promise, and said: "Let us go to the Cardinal." And after having comforted St.Clare with holy words and taken leave of her with great humility, he took the road to Rieti. When he got near the town, such a multitude of people came out to meet him that he did not want to go into it, but withdrew into a church which lay at a distance of about two miles from the city. When the citizens learnt that he was in that church, they hastened out to see him in such numbers that the vineyard of the church was quite spoiled and all the grapes were picked. The priest was deeply grieved at this, and repented that he had asked S.Francis to stay in his church.

When God revealed to St.Francis these thoughts in the heart of the priest, he sent for him and said: "Dearest father, how many measures of wine does this vineyard yield to you in a year, when it is at its best?"

The priest answered that it yielded twelve measures. St.Francis said: "I beg you, father, bear patiently with me and allow me to stay here a few days, for I find much rest here, and allow everybody to pick grapes from your vineyard for the love of God and of the poor little man that I am, and I promise you in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ that it will give you a yearly yield of twenty measures."

And this St.Francis did in return for staying there, because of the great uplifting of souls which was manifest in the people who came, many of whom departed inebriated with divine love and abandoned the world.

The priest, relying on St.Francis' promise, gave all who came to him the freedom of the vineyard. Marvellous to relate! The vineyard was totally despoiled, so that there barely remained some small bunches of grapes. The time of vintage came and the priest picked those few little bunches, put them in the vat and pressed them, and, as St.Francis had promised, he obtained twenty measures of the best wine.

In this miracle we are given manifestly to understand that, just as the despoiled vineyard yielded an abundance of wine by the merits of St.Francis, so the Christian people, barren of virtue through sin, through the merits and the doctrine of St.Francis, often abounds in the good fruits of penitence. Praised be Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, September 10, 2010

How St.Francis summoned a general meeting of the Chapter and more than five thousand friars attended, and how he preached to them (18)

The faithful servant of Christ, St.Francis, once held a Chapter at St.Mary of the Angels, and this meeting was attended by more than five thousand friars, and also by St.Dominic, head and founder of the Order of the Preaching Brothers; he was then going from Borgogna to Rome, with seven friars of his order. The said Chapter was also attended by a Cardinal who was devoted to St.Francis, to whom the Saint had foretold that he would become Pope, and so it happened. (Cardinal Ugolino, later Gregory IX). The said Cardinal had come especially from Perugia, where the Court was, to Assisi, and every day he came to see St.Francis and his brethren; sometimes he sang the Mass, and sometimes he preached to the brethren in Chapter. And marvelling that so great a multitude should be so orderly, he said with tears and great devotion: "This is the arm of the knights of Christ!" In all this multitude one could not hear anyone indulging in idle talk or jests, but wherever a company of friars assembled, they would either pray or say the office, or they would weep over their own sins and those of their benefactors, or discourse on the salvation of the soul. In that camp were roofs of willows and rush-mats in different shapes according to the different provinces, and for that reason it was called the camp of the trellises, or of the rush-mats. The bedded themselves on the earth, and those who had some covered it with a little straw; their pillows were stones or bits of wood.

When the general Chapter was all assembled, the holy father of them all and minister general, St.Francis, propounded the word of God in great fervour of spirit and preached to them in a loud voice the words the Holy Ghost made him speak. For the text of his sermon he took these words:

"My sons, we have promised great things, but even greater have been promised to us by God. Let us observe what we have promised and hope steadfastly for what has been promised us. Brief are the delights of the world, but the pain that follows after them is perpetual. Small is the pain of this world, but he glory of the other life is infinite."

Preaching most devoutly on these words, he comforted the brethren and admonished them to obey and reverence Holy Mother Church, to persevere in fraternal charity, to pray God for the whole people, to have patience in the adversities of the world and observe temperance in prosperity, to keep themselves pure and chaste as angels, to live in peace and concord with God and men and with their own conscience, to love and observe holy poverty. And he said: "I command you by holy obedience, all of you who have congregated here, that not one of you should have a care of food or drink or of any thing necessary to the body, but that you should be intent only on praying and praising God. Leave all care of your body to Him, knowing that He has you in His especial care." And they all received this commandment with a glad heart and a happy countenance. And when St.Francis had finished his sermon, they all sank to their knees to pray.

St.Dominic, who was present at all this, wondered exceedingly at this commandment of St.Francis and considered him injudicious, for he could not believe that such a multitude could support itself without care or thought of the needs of the body.

But our blessed shepherd Jesus Christ, to show how He cares for His sheep and what singular love He has for His poor, forthwith inspired the people of Perugia, Spoleto, Foligno, Spello, and Assisi and other surrounding regions with the thought of bringing food and drink for the holy congregation. And lo! suddenly men arrived from the said places with mules, horses and carts, laden with bread and wine, beans and cheese and other good things to eat, thus purveying all the needs of the poor of Christ. Furthermore, they brought tablecloths and pitchers, goblets and other vessels to serve the needs of a great a multitude. And he who could bring the most or serve with the greatest care considered himself blessed.

Therefore St.Dominic, seeing these things, recognized that divine Providence was working in them, and he admitted humbly within himself that he had misjudged St.Francis, thinking his command was injudicious and, kneeling down humbly before him, he confessed his error with great humility and added: "Truly, God has especial care of these poor holy men, and I did not know it. From now on, I promise, I will observe holy evangelical poverty, and in that name of God I curse all brothers of my Order who in that Order presume to keep property of their own."

How St.Francis sent to St.Clare and Brother Silvester for advice whether it would be better for him to abide in prayer (16)

The humble servant of Christ, St.Francis, a short time after his conversion, when he had already united many companions and received them into the Order, began to ponder deeply and to doubt what it beloved him to do, namely, whether he should only remain in prayer, or whether he should sometimes preach. He was greatly desirous of learning God's will in regard to this. And as his humility was such that he did not presume to find the answer by himself or in his own meditations, he thought to discover the divine will through the meditations of others.

Therefore he called Brother Masseo and said: "Go to Sister Clare and ask her from me to pray devoutly with some of her most spiritually advanced companions that God may be pleased to show me what is better: that I should attend to preaching, or only to prayer. Then go to Brother Silvester and ask him the same."

The latter had been Messer Silvestro in the world, the same who had seen a golden cross proceeding from St.Francis' mouth, a cross as high as the heavens and reaching to the extremities of the earth. The devotion and saintliness of this Brother Silvester were such that whatever he prayed for was granted, and he often had conversation with God; therefore St.Francis was much devoted to him.

Brother Masseo went and, according to the bidding of St.Francis, carried his message first to St.Clare, and then to Brother Silvester, who, as soon as he had received it, immersed himself at once in prayer, and while he was praying was given the answer from God. He returned to Brother Masseo and said: "God says this, which you are to repeat to Francis: that God has not called him to this state for himself alone, but so that he should reap the fruit of souls, and that many may be saved through him."

When he had heard this, Brother Masseo returned to St.Clare to learn what she had obtained from God, and she told him that she and other other companions had been give the same divine answer that Brother Silvester had received. Brother Masseo returned great loving kindness, washing his feet and preparing a meal for him. And after he had eaten, St.Francis, and the father received him with great loving kindness, washing his feet and preparing a meal for him. And after he had eaten, St.Francis called Brother Masseo into the wood; there he knelt down before him, threw back his cowl, crossed his arms and asked: "What does the Lord Jesus Christ command me to do?"

Brother Masseo answered as follows: "To Brother Silvester, and also to Sister Clare and to her sisters, Christ has answered and revealed that it is His will for you to go out into he world and preach; for He has not chosen you for yourself alone, but also for the salvation of others."

Then St.Francis, having heard this answer and recognized the will of God, arose with great fervour and said: "Let us then go in God's name." He took for his companions Brother Masseo and Brother Angelo, very holy men, and he set out filled with impetuous zeal without taking thought of road nor path. So they arrived at a fortified town called Savurgnano (Cannara). St.Francis began to preach, after bidding the swallows who were singing to be silent until he had finished his sermon, and the swallows obeyed him. And there he preached with such eloquence that all the men and women of the town wanted to follow him in their devotion, abandoning their homesteads. But St.Francis would not allow this, and said to them: "Be not in such haste and do not leave, and I will tell you what you should do for the salvation of your souls."

And then he thought of founding the Third Order, for the universal salvation of all people. Leaving them much consoled and well disposed to penitence, he departed and came to a spot between Armano and Bevagno. As he went on in great fervour, he lifted his eyes and saw some trees by the roadside, and on them an almost infinite number of birds. St.Francis was amazed at this and said to his companions: "Wait for me on this road, and I will go and preach to my sisters the birds."

And going into the field, he began to preach to the birds which were sitting on the ground, and at once those that were in the trees came to him, and they all remained still until St.Francis had finished preaching to them, and even then they did not fly away until he had given them his blessing. According to the testimony of Brother Masseo and Brother Jacomo da Massa, they did not even move when St.Francis walked among them and touched them with his cloak.

The substance of St.Francis' sermon to the birds was as follows: "O birds, my sisters, you owe much to God your creator and you must praise Him always and everywhere, for He has given you freedom to fly wherever you like, and He has also given you double and triple raiment; and He has preserved your seed in the ark of Noah, so that your kind should not grow less on earth; and furthermore you must thank Him for the element of air which He has assigned to you. What is more, you neither sow nor reap, and God feeds you, and has given you the streams and the fountains to drink from, the mountains and the hills to shelter you, and the high trees whereon you can build your nests. And although you can neither spin nor sew, God clothes you and your children. Therefore the Creator loves you dearly, and He has given you so many blessings, and so, my sisters, beware of the sin of ingratitude and be always eager to praise God.

When St.Francis said these words to them, all the birds began to open their beaks, stretch out their necks, unfold their wings and reverently bow their heads to the ground. So by their acts and their song they showed that the words of the holy father gave them very great joy. And St.Francis rejoiced with them and was glad and marvelled at the great multitude of the birds, and their beautiful diversity, and at their attentive and fearless behaviour. For these reasons he praised the Creator in them with great devotion.

Finally, when he had finished preaching to them, St.Francis made the sign of the cross over them and gave them leave to depart. Thereupon all the birds rose up together into the air with wonderful songs and then the flock divided itself into four parts, following the direction of the sign of the cross: one part flew to the east, the other to the west, the third to the south, the fourth to the north - thereby signifying that the preaching of Christ's cross, renewed by St.Francis, would spread over the whole world through him and his brethren who, like unto the birds, possess nothing of their own and in the world and commit their lives wholly to God's Providence. Praised be Jesus Christ, Amen.

Friday, September 3, 2010

How St.Clare went to eat with St.Francis at St.Mary of the Angels (15)

When St.Francis stayed at Assisi, he often visited St.Clare and gave her holy counsels. She had a great desire to eat with him once, and begged him many times to do so, but he would never grant her this consolation. St.Francis's companions, seeing this great desire of St.Clare, said to him: "Father, it seems to us that this severity is not consistent with divine charity - that you should not concede so small a thing as to allow Sister Clare, a virgin so holy and beloved of God, to eat with you, especially when one considers that through your preaching she relinquished all the riches and pomps of the world. Truly, if she were to ask you for an even greater favour than this, you should accord it to her, your spiritual plant."

Then St.Francis answered: "Do you hold that I should grant her request?"

The companions said: "Yes, father, it is right that you should afford her this consolation."

St.Francis then said: "As you are of this opinion, I agree. But so that she should be consoled even more, I wish this meal to be taken at St.Mary of the Angels, seeing that she has been cloistered so long in San Damiano, it will please her to see St.Mary's again, the place where her hair was shorn and she became the bride of Jesus
Christ. There we will eat together in the name of God."

When the ordained day arrived, St.Clare came out from her convent with one sister, and, accompanied by the companions of St.Francis, saluted the Blessed Virgin at her altar, before which she had been shorn and veiled, and then they took her to see the place until it was time to dine. In the meantime St.Francis had had the table prepared on the bare ground, as he was wont to do. And when it was time to dine, St.
Francis and St.Clare sat down together, and one of the companions of St.Francis with the companion of St.Clare, and then all the other companions sat down at table with greater humility.

At the first course, St.Francis began to speak of God with such suavity, so sublimely and so wonderfully that the abundance of divine grace descended on them and they were all rapt in God.

And while they were thus rapt with their eyes and their hands raised to Heaven, the people of Assisi and Bettona and the surrounding countryside saw St.Mary of the Angels, the monastery and the woods which then surrounded it, burning brightly, as though a great fire were blazing in the church, the house and the woods. Therefore, the men of Assisi came running in great haste to put out the flames, believing firmly that something was on fire. But when they arrived there they found nothing burning; they then went in and found St.Francis and St.Clare and all their company rapt in ecstatic contemplation, sitting around that humble board.

From this they understood that the fire had been divine and not material, and that God had caused it to appear miraculously to show and signify the fire of divine love which inflamed the souls of those holy monks and nuns, and they returned home with great consolation in their hearts and holy edification.

Then, after a long time, St.Francis and St.Clare and the others returned to themselves, and, feeling well comforted by the spiritual sustenance, they had little care of bodily nourishment. And so, when this blessed meal was over, St.Clare, fittingly accompanied, returned to San Damiano. The sisters were exceedingly glad to see her again, because they had been afraid that St.Francis had sent her to direct another convent, as he had already sent the holly Sister Agnes, her own sister, to rule as abbess over the convent of Monticelli at Florence. St.Francis had several times said to St.Clare: "Make yourself ready, in case it should be necessary for me to send you to another place." And she, as a true daughter of holy obedience, had replied:" Father, I am always ready to go wherever you may send me." And for this reason the sisters were very glad when they had her back again.

And from then on St.Clare remained in great consolation. To the glory of Christ, Amen.

How St.Francis and his brethren were speaking of God, and Christ appeared to them (14)

In the beginning of the Order, when St.Francis and his companions were assembled one day in a place, and talking about Christ, the Saint in the fervour of his spirit commanded one of them in the name of God to open his lips and speak of God as the Holy Spirit inspired him.

The friar obeyed the command and spoke most marvellously. St.Francis then imposed silence upon him and commanded another friar to speak, the which obeyed and discoursed on God with great subtlety, until St.Francis bade him be silent also. And he commanded a third to speak to God. And he likewise began to speak so profoundly of the divine mysteries that St.Francis knew without doubt that he, like the other two, spoke by the Holy Spirit. This was also demonstrated by an unmistakable sign, for as they were thus discoursing, Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared in their midst in the shape of a beautiful youth. Blessing them all, He filled them with such sweetness that they were rapt in ecstasy and lay as men dead, feeling nothing pertaining to this world.

When they then returned to themselves, St.Francis said to them: "My dearest brothers, let us thank God, who has seen fit to reveal the treasures of divine wisdom through the mouths of simpletons, for it is God who opens the mouths of thedumb and makes the tongues of the simple to speak most wisely." Praised be He, Amen.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How St.Francis sent his companions to preach in different parts, while he went to another part with Brother Masseo (13)

The wonderful servant and follower of Christ, our master St.Francis, wanted to conform himself to Christ in everything. According to the Gospel Our Lord sent His disciples two by two into all the towns and places where He Himself was going; therefore St.Francis, after having assembled twelve companions according to the example of Christ, sent them out, two by two, into the world to preach. In order to give them an example of true obedience, he was the first to go out, following the example of Christ, who began with actions before He thought. Therefore, having assigned other parts of the world to his companions, he took the road accompanied by Brother Masseo, towards the land of France.

One day they arrived very hungry at a town and proceeded, according to the Rule, to beg their bread for the love of God. St.Francis went along one street, Brother Masseo along another. But as St.Francis was of despicable aspect and small of stature and therefore was taken for a poor, wretched little man by those who did not know him, he succeeded only in collecting a few mouthfuls of bits of dry bread. Brother Masseo, however, was a tall man of handsome presence, and there he was given a great deal, fine large pieces of bread and even whole loaves.

When they had finished begging, they met outside the town in a place where they could eat, where there was a beautiful fountain beside a fine, broad stone on which they each set out the alms they had collected. When St.Francis saw that the pieces of bread received by Brother Masseo were far better and larger than his own, he was overjoyed and said:

"O Brother Masseo, we are not worthy of so great a treasure."

He repeated these words several times, and Brother Masseo said: "Dearest father, how can one speak of a treasure where there is such poverty and so great a lack of the things we need? Here is not tablecloth, no trencher, no bowl; no house, no table, no man or maid to serve us."

Then St.Francis said: "And that is what I call a great treasure, that there is not one thing prepared by human hands, but what there is has been prepared by divine providence, as we see by the bread we have collected, by our table of so beautiful a stone and the fountain so limpidly clear. Therefore I would have us pray God that He make us love with all our heart the treasure of Holy Poverty, who is so noble that God Himself becomes her servant."

When he had said these words, and they had prayed and taken bodily sustenance from those pieces of bread and the water from the fountain, they arose to continue their way to France. They came to a church, and St.Francis said to his companion: "Let us go into this church and adore the Lord." St.Francis went behind the altar and entered into prayer, and in that prayer he received such great favours of divine visitation that his soul was wholly inflamed with love of holy poverty; his face was flushed, his lips opened so that it seemed that he was throwing out flames of love.

And coming thus all flowing to his companion, he said: "Ah, ah, ah, Brother Masseo, give yourself to me!" This he said three times, and the third time St.Francis raised Brother Masseo into the air with his breath and threw him forward the length of a great spear. Brother Masseo was greatly amazed, and later he told his companions how, when St.Francis with his breath had lifted and propelled him, he had experienced such sweetness of spirit and consolation of the Holy Ghost that nothing he had known in his whole life could equal it.

And St.Francis said: "Dearest companion, let us now go to St.Peter and St.Paul and ask them to teach us and help us to possess the immeasurable treasure of holy poverty."

And they came to Rome, and entered into the church of St.Peter, and St.Francis knelt to pray in one corner of the church and Brother Masseo in the other. Then, filled with gladness, they both decided to return to the valley of Spoleto and leave their journeying to France. Praise be to Christ our Lord, Amen.