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

Monday, December 27, 2010

How St.Louis, the King of France, came to visit Brother Giles, and how they understood each other without speaking (34)

St.Louis,, the King of France, went on a pilgrimage to the holy places of the world, and when he heard of the celebrated sanctity of Brother Giles, who had been one of St.Francis's first companions he set his heart on visiting him in person. For this reason he came to Perugia, where the said Brother Giles dwelt at that time, and, coming to the door of the house of the brothers like a poor unknown pilgrim with few companions, he asked with great insistency for Brother Giles, saying nothing to the porter as to who it was who was asking for him.

So the porter went to Brother Giles and told him that there was a pilgrim at the door, asking for him; God revealed to Brother Giles in his spirit that this was the King of France, therefore with great fervour he came out of his cell and ran to the door. And without any questioning, although they had never seen each other before, they both knelt down with great devotion and embraced and kissed each other with such affection as though they had been close friends for a long time. But during all this time neither said a word to the other, but continued to hold each other in their arms with signs of loving charity in silence. And after they had remained in the said manner for a long while without saying a word, they parted from each other, and St.Louis continued on his journey and Brother Giles returned to his cell.

When the king left, a friar asked one of his companions who it was who had stayed so long with this arms round Brother Giles, and he answered that he was Louis, King of France, who had com to see Brother Giles. When he told this to the other friars, they were exceedingly distressed that Brother Giles had not uttered a word and complaining, they said to him: "Brother Giles, why were you so boorish and did not speak to such a king, who has come all the way from France to see you and to receive a good word from you?"

Brother Giles answered: "My dearest brothers, do not be surprised at this, for I could not say a word to him nor he to me because, as soon as we embraced each other, the light of divine wisdom revealed his heart to me and mine to him. And so, by a divine operation looking into each other's hearts, we understood far better what we wanted to say to each other than if we had spoken with our lips, and we received greater consolation. And if we wanted to explain in words what we felt in our hearts, but the defects of the human language, which cannot give clear expression to the secret mysteries of God, we would have been disappointed rather than consoled, and yet you know now that the king departed marvellously comforted." Praise be to Christ, Amen.

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