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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Of the great saintliness of Brother Simon of Assisi (41)

During the beginnings of the Order, in the life-time of St.Francis, there came to the Order a youth from Assisi who was called Brother Simon, whom God adorned with so much grace and such depth of contemplation and elevation of mind that his whole life was a mirror of sanctity, according to those who were with him a long time. He was seen but rarely outside his cell, and whenever he was with the brothers he always spoke of God. He had never studied grammar, but nevertheless he could speak of God and of the love of Christ with such profundity and elevation that this words seemed more than the words of man.

One evening, while he was in the wood with Brother Jacopo of Massa in order to talk about God, and speaking with most suavely about divine love, they remained the whole night long holding this converse, and in the morning they thought they had only been there quite a short time, so the said Brother Jacopo told me -

One time he was rapt in God and insensible to the world, consumed inwardly by the divine love of God and feeling nothing outside with his corporal senses, and a brother, desiring to test this state and find out if it really was as it appeared, took a glowing coal out of the fire and laid it on Brother Simon's bare foot. And Brother Simon felt nothing, and it made no mark on his foot, although it stayed there for a considerable time, so long that it no longer glowed, having spent itself -

Through his godly conversation he once converted a young man of San Severino, who in the world was a very vain and worldly youth, of noble descent and very delicately reared. When Brother Simon received the said youth into the order, he kept his secular raiment in his own keeping, and the young man stayed with Brother Simon so that he should instruct him on the observance of the Rule. Thereupon the demon, who tries to thwart all good, incited him with so ardent a temptation of the flesh that the young man could no longer resist, and went to Brother Simon and said to him: "Give me back my clothes which I brought from the world, for I can no longer sustain the carnal temptation!" And Brother Simon, moved by compassion towards him,said to him: "Sit down here with me a little, my son," and he began to speak to him of God, and every temptation vanished. This he did several times, but one night the said temptation assailed the youth mightily, more than ever before. Then Brother Simon, according to his usage, made him sit down beside him and spoke to him of God; and the youth laid his head on Brother Simon's knees, filled with melancholy and sadness. Then Brother Simon in his great compassion lifted his eyes to Heaven and as he prayed most devoutly to the Lord God for him, he was rapt in ecstasy and his prayer was granted. When Brother Simon returned to himself the youth felt himself wholly liberated of that temptation, as though he had never felt it.

Now, as the ardor of the temptation had been transformed into the ardor of the Holy Spirit because he had approached the glowing coal, that is Brother Simon, he became wholly inflamed with the love of God and of his neighbor, so much so that once, when a malefactor had been captured who was to have both his eyes put and the Council. With many tears and entreaties he asked that they should put out one of his eyes and one of the malefactor's, so that the latter should not remain entirely deprived of sight. But the Governor and the Council, seeing the great fervor and chastity of this friar, pardoned them both.

One day when Brother Simon was praying in the wood and feeling great consolation in his soul, a flock of crows began to annoy him with their crowing. Therefore he commanded them in the name of Jesus to fly away and no to return. And the said birds flew away and were never again seen there or anywhere in the neighborhood, and this miracle was manifest to all the custody of Fermo, wherein the said house was situated. To the praise of Christ.

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