The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 384 

Chapter CLXI

212Worn out with sufferings on all sides, it was amazing that his strength could bear it. But in fact he did not call these tribulations by the name of "pains," but rather "Sisters." There is no question that they came from many causes. Truly, in order that he might become more famous through victories, the Most High not only entrusted to him difficult tasks during his early training but also gave him occa- sions for triumph while he was a veteran.

In this too the followers have him for an example,
for he never slowed down because of age
or became more self-indulgent because of his illness.
And there was a reason that his purgation was complete
in this vale of tears:
so he might repay up to the last penny,
if there was anything to burn left in him,
so at the end completely cleansed
he could fly quickly to heaven.
But I believe the principal reason for his sufferings was,
as he affirmed about others,
that in bearing them there is great reward. Ps 19:11 [Vulgate, Ps 18:11]

213One night, when he was more worn out than usual because of various serious discomforts from his illnesses, he began to feel sorry for himself in the depths of his heart. But, lest his willing spirit Mt 26:41 should give in to the flesh in a fleshly way even for a moment, unmoving he held the shield of patience by praying to Christ.

And as he prayed in this struggle, he received a promise of eternal life through this comparison: "If the whole mass of the earth and fabric of the universe were made of the most precious gold, and you with all pain gone were given as the reward for the hard suffering you're bearing a treasure of such glory that all this gold would be as nothing in comparison to it,—not even worth mentioning—wouldn't you re- joice, and gladly bear what you're bearing at the moment?" "I'd be happy to," said the saint, "I'd be immeasurably happy."

"Rejoice, then," the Lord said to him, "for your illness is the pledge of my Kingdom; by merit of your patience you can be firm and secure Wis 7:23 in expecting the inheritance of this Kingdom." Eph 5:5

Can you imagine the joy felt by one
blessed with such a happy promise?




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 384