The Life of Blessed Francis - 632 

3With the seraphic ardor of desires,
therefore,
he was being borne aloft into God;
and by compassionate sweetness
he was being transformed into Him
Who chose to be crucified out of
the excess of His love.

On a certain morning about the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, while Francis was praying on the mountainside, he saw a Seraph having six wings, fiery as well as brilliant, descend from the grandeur of heaven. And when in swift flight, it had arrived at a spot in the air near the man of God, there appeared between the wings the likeness of a man crucified, with his hands and feet extended in the form of a cross and fastened to a cross. Two of the wings were raised above his head, two were extended for flight, and two covered his whole body. Seeing this, he was overwhelmed and his heart was flooded with a mixture of joy and sorrow. He rejoiced at the gracious way Christ looked upon him under the appearance of the Seraph, but the fact that He was fastened to a cross pierced his soul with a sword Lk 2:35 of compassionate sorrow.

He marveled exceedingly
at the sight of so unfathomable a vision,
knowing that the weakness of Christ's passion
was in no way compatible
with the immortality of the seraphic spirit.
Eventually he understood from this,
through the Lord revealing it,
that Divine Providence had shown him a vision of this sort so that
the friend of Christ might learn in advance
that he was to be totally transformed
into the likeness of Christ crucified,a
not by the martyrdom of his flesh,
but by the enkindling of his soul.b
As the vision was disappearing,
it left in his heart a marvelous fire

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 891-892


3 1Cum igitur
seraphicis desideriorum ardoribus
sursum ageretur in Deum
et compassiva dulcedine
in eum transformaretur,
qui ex caritate nimia
voluit crucifigi:

2quodam mane circa festum Exaltationis sanctae Crucis, dum oraret in latere montis, vidit Seraph unum sex alas habentem, tam ignitas quam splendidas, de caelorum sublimitate descendere. 3Cumque volatu celerrimo pervenisset ad aëris locum viro Dei propinquum, apparuit inter alas effigies hominis crucifixi, in modum crucis manus et pedes extensos habentis et cruci affixos. 4Duae alae super caput ipsius elevabantur, duae ad volandum extendebantur, duae vero totum velabant corpus. 5Hoc videns, vehementer obstupuit, mixtumque moerore gaudium cor eius incurrit. 6Laetabatur quidem in gratioso aspectu, quo a Christo sub specie Seraph cernebat se conspici, sed crucis affixio compassivi doloris gladio ipsius animam pertransibat.

7Admirabatur quam plurimum
in tam inscrutabilis visionis aspectu,
sciens, quod passionis infirmitas
cum immortalitate spiritus seraphici
nullatenus conveniret.
8Intellexit tandem ex hoc,
Domino revelante,
quod ideo huiusmodi visio sic divina providentia suis fuerat praesentata conspectibus, ut
amicus Christi praenosset,
se non per martyrium carnis,
sed per incendium mentis
totum in Christi crucifixi similitudinem
transformandum.
9Disparens igitur visio mirabilem
in corde ipsius reliquit ardorem,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 632