The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 481 

5 It happened that the night he decided to throw off the habit and return to the world, he had to pass in front of the altar. By force of habit, he knelt in the usual way. Immediately he was taken up in spirit, and a marvelous vision was shown to him. For he saw an almost infinite multitude passing in procession before him. All in this blessed procession walked two by two and were clothed in robes decorated with gems. Their faces, their hands and whatever of their bodies could be seen shone more brightly than the sun. They moved along singing solemnly and very sweetly with the chant and hymns of angels. Among those passing were two more noble than the others, surrounded by such brilliance that they brought wonder and astonishment to those who saw them. Toward the end of that procession he saw one decorated with such glory that he seemed like a new knight being specially honored by everyone.

10 When the young man saw all this, he was left wondering and did not know what it all meant. He did not dare to question those who passed by, nor could he, since he was speechless from overwhelming sweetness. But when the procession had passed by, and he could still see those who were last, he regained his courage. He ran to them and asked: "My dear friends, I beg you, please tell me who these people are, these admirable people who make up this venerable procession?" They turned their very brilliant faces toward him and said: "We are all Lesser Brothers who have just come from the glory of paradise." He asked another question: "Who are those two who shine more brightly than the others?" They responded: "Those two, brighter than the others, are Saint Francis and Saint Anthony. And the one at the end, being honored so greatly, is a holy man who just died. Because he fought bravely against temptations and persevered to the end in his holy purpose, we are leading him with glory and triumph to the glory of the eternal kingdom, escorted not only by saints but also by the rejoicing. These splendid robes we wear were given to us because of the rough tunics we patiently wore in the religion. The glorious brightness you see was given to us by God because of the humble penance we did, and because of the holy poverty and obedience and spotless chastity we have observed to the end with a cheerful heart. Therefore, son, do not let the wearing sackcloth of the religion, which is so profitable, be a burden to you. Because if you manfully stay in the sackcloth of Blessed Francis, for love of our Lord Jesus Christ, by spurning the world, mortifying the flesh and by fighting against the devil, you will shine with us in similar clothing and light."

16 After this, the youth returned to himself, comforted by this vision, and he cast off the whole temptation. He acknowledged his




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 481