The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 463 

upon by everyone as unimportant because the foolish human eye judges only what is outside, not the inside, that holy man collected leftovers of cheap bread and some small scraps. But Brother Masseo, who was a big and handsome man, received more and better-looking ones.

8 When they both met in a place outside town to eat the food together, they found a spring with a handsome, broad stone placed at its edge. Delighted with this, they placed on the stone the pieces of bread they had gotten. When Saint Francis saw that Brother Masseo's scraps of bread were better looking and more than his, he rejoiced in spirit because of his desire for poverty, and he said: "O Brother Masseo, we're not worthy of such a great treasure." Then gradually raising his voice, he repeated this three times. Brother Masseo replied: "Dear Father, how can you call this a treasure when so much is lacking: no tablecloth, no knife, no dish, no bowl, no house, no table, no servant and no maid?" Saint Francis replied: "I consider this a great treasure because there is nothing here that was prepared by human industry. Rather whatever is here has been served by divine providence, as it clearly appears in the bread we got, in such a fine stone and in such a clear spring. Therefore, I want us to ask God to make us love with our whole hearts the treasure of holy poverty, so noble that it has God as its administrator."a

14 With divine praises they joyfully took their food and drink from the crusts of bread and the spring, then they got up to head toward France. And when they arrived at a church, Saint Francis said to his companion: "Let's go in here to hear the Mass of the Lord." But since there was no priest, Saint Francis hid himself behind the altar of that church to pray. And there he received such overwhelming fervor from a divine visitation, which totally inflamed his soul with longing for poverty, it seemed he released from his face and his open mouth something like flames of love. Then, with his mouth burning this way, he came out toward his companion and kept saying wildly: "Ah! Ah! Ah! Brother Masseo, give me yourself!"—he did this three times—and Brother Masseo, stunned at such wild fervor, when Saint Francis said for the third time: "Give me yourself!" immediately threw himself fully into the arms of the holy Father. Then, his mouth wide open in the fervor of the Holy Spirit, in the loud echoing noise of "ah! ah! ah!," Saint Francis lifted Brother Masseo into the air with his own breath, and tossed him in front of himself to the length of one long spear. As Brother Masseo experienced this, he was completely astonished by such amazing fervor of the holy father. Later he




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 463