The Life of Blessed Francis - 552 

the man devoted to God spent the night in his customary way, in the prayer of God. About midnight, while some of the brothers were resting and others were persevering in prayer, behold, a fiery chariot of wonderful brilliance entering the door of the house moved here and there through the little house three times. On top of it sat a bright globe that looked like the sun, and it made the night bright as day. Those who were awake were dumbfounded, while those sleeping were disturbed and, at the same time, terrified; they sensed the brightness with their hearts as much as with their bodies, while the conscience of each was laid bare to the others by the power of that marvelous light.

As they looked into each other's hearts,
they all understood together that the holy father,
while away from them in body,
was present in spirit transfigured in such an image 1 Cor 5:3
radiant with heavenly brilliance
and inflamed with burning ardor
in a glowing chariot of fire, 2 Kgs 2:11
as the Lord had shown him to them
that they might follow him as true Israelites.
Like a second Elijah
God had made him
a chariot and charioteer for spiritual men. 2 Kgs 02:12
Certainly we can believe
that He opened the eyes
of these simple men at the prayers of Francis
that they might see the wonders of God
just as he had once opened the eyes of a child
to see the mountain full of horses and chariots of fire
round about Elisha.

When the holy man returned to the brothers,
he began to probe the secrets of their consciences,
to draw courage for them from this wonderful vision
and to make many predictions about the growth of the Order.
When he disclosed many things
that transcended human understanding,
the brothers completely realized
the Spirit of the Lord had come to rest upon him in such fullness Is 11:2
that it was absolutely safe for them
to follow his life and teaching.

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 805-806


2Cumque in quodam tugurio sito in horto canonicorum vir Deo devotus in oratione Dei more solito pernoctaret, corporaliter absentatus a filiis; ecce, fere media noctis hora, quibusdam ex fratribus quiescentibus, quibusdam perseverantibus in orando, currus igneus mirandi splendoris, per ostium domus intrans, huc atque illuc per domicilium tertio se convertit, supra quem globus lucidus residebat, qui solis habens aspectum, noctem clarere fecit. 3Obstupefacti sunt vigilantes, excitati simul et exterriti dormientes, et non minus senserunt cordis claritatem quam corporis, dum ex virtute mirandi luminis alterius alteri conscientia nuda fuit.

4Intellexerunt namque concorditer omnes,
videntibus invicem universis in cordibus singulorum,
sanctum patrem absentem corpore,
praesentem spiritu
tali transfiguratum effigie,
supernis irradiatum fulgoribus
et ardoribus inflammatum
supernaturali virtute in curru splendente
simul et igneo sibi demonstrari a Domino,
ut tamquam veri Israelitae post illum incederent,
qui virorum spiritualium,
ut alter Elias,
factus fuerat a Deo currus et auriga.
5Credendum sane,
quod ille horum simplicium aperuit oculos
ad preces Francisci,
ut viderent magnalia Dei,
qui oculos quondam aperuerat pueri
ad videndum montem plenum equorum et igneorum curruum
in circuitu Elisei.
6Regressus autem vir sanctus ad fratres,
coepit conscientiarum ipsorum secreta rimari,
confortare ipsos de visione illa mirabili,
et de profectu Ordinis multa futura praedicere.
7Cumque patefaceret plurima
quae sensum transcendebant humanum,
vere cognoverunt fratres,
super servum suum Franciscum Spiritum Domini in tanta plenitudine quievisse,
quod post ipsius
doctrinam et vitam erat eis proficisci tutissimum.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 552