A Mirror of the Perfection (The Sabatier Edition, 1928) - 347 

In order to increase both his afflictions and his merit, many mice, with divine permission, overran his cell where he was lying, which was made of mats in one part of the house. Day and night, as they were running around him and even over him, they prevented him from praying or taking some rest. They even disturbed him greatly at the time of prayer. They also climbed up on his table when he was eating and disturbed him very much, so much so that his companions, and he himself, clearly perceived it as a temptation of the devil.

One night as blessed Francis was reflecting on all the afflictions that tormented him, he was moved by piety for himself. "Lord, " he said to himself, "make haste to help me Ps 71:12 [Vulgate, Ps 70:12] in my illnesses, so that I may be able to bear them patiently."

And immediately he was told in spirit: "Tell me, brother, what if, in exchange for your illnesses and troubles, someone were to give you a treasure? And it would be so great and precious that, even if the whole earth were changed to pure gold, all stones to precious stones, and all water to balsam, you would still hold all these things as nothing, compared to this great treasure which was given you. Wouldn't you greatly rejoice?"

"Lord," blessed Francis answered, "this treasure would indeed be great, very precious, greatly lovable, and desirable."

And he heard it again saying to him: "Then, brother, be glad and rejoice in your illnesses and troubles, and, as of now, you are as secure as if you were already in my kingdom."

The next morning on rising, he said to his companions: "If the emperor were to give a whole kingdom to one of his servants, shouldn't that servant greatly rejoice? But, what if he were to give him the whole empire, wouldn't he rejoice even more?" And he said to them: "I must rejoice greatly in my illnesses and troubles and be consoled in the Lord, giving thanks always to God the Father, to His only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Eph 5:20 and to the Holy Spirit for such a great grace bestowed on me by the Lord, because He has given me, His unworthy little servant still living in the flesh, the promise of His kingdom.

"Therefore for His praise, for our consolation and for the edification of our neighbor, I want to write a new Praise of the Lord for His creatures, which we use every day, and without which we cannot live. Through them the human race greatly offends the Creator, and we are continually ungrateful for such great graces and good gifts, not praising because we do not praise, as we should, our Lord the Creator and the Giver of all good."




Speculum Perfectionis, Fontes Franciscani, p.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 347