An Umbrian Choir Legend - 473 

An Umbrian Choir Legend

1Indeed, the friend of God, Francis, two years before he returned his soul to heaven, in the hermitage called LaVerna, saw in a vision a single Seraph in the air, having six wings spread above him with hands and feet attached to a cross. Two wings were raised above his head, two were stretched out for flight, and two covered his whole body. The holy man was deeply stunned at this sight, but was unaware what to make of the meaning of this vision. Joy and grief alternated with concern in his heart. He rejoiced in the pleasant regard with which the Seraph seemed to look at him; its beauty was beyond measure. But the crucifixion terrified him. Concerned, he kept thinking about what this vision might mean, and his spirit was anxious to discern a sensible meaning from the vision. Nevertheless, he was unable to understand anything from it clearly, until he later saw in himself that most glorious miracle of Christ unheard of in former times.

From that moment signs of the nails began to appear on his hands and feet, just as he had seen them a little while earlier in the man crucified hovering over him. His hands and feet seemed to be pierced through the middle by nails, with the heads of the nails appearing on the inner part of his hands and on the upper part of his feet, and their points protruding on the opposite. For the marks on the inside of his hands were round, but oblong on the outside, and small pieces of flesh were visible, like the points of nails, bent over and flattened, extending beyond the flesh around them. On his feet, the marks of the nails were stamped in the same way and raised above the surrounding flesh. His right side too was marked with an oblong scar, as if pierced by a lance, and this often dripped blood, so that his tunic and undergarments were frequently stained with his sacred blood. It frequently discharged blood so that his cloak and drawers were oftentimes spattered with his precious blood.

2 Therefore, with such pearls radiant within him, the man of God strove to keep hidden from the eyes of all living beings that most precious treasure, so that he would not inflict damage on the Rom 12:3 great grace given to him by reason of familiarity with someone. He always carried in his heart and often had on his lips the saying of




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 473