The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 568 

remained like this until early morning, constantly repeating: "My God, My God," and nothing else. And Saint Francis said this while contemplating and admiring the excellence of the Divine Majesty, which had kindly come down to the perishing world, and through Francis, His little poor man, had prepared to offer a healing remedy for his own soul and that of others. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, or through the spirit of prophecy, foreseeing the great things that God would do through him and his Order, and considering his own incapacity and small virtue, he was calling and praying to God that, by His mercy and omnipotence, without which human frailty can do nothing, he should supply, help, and fulfill that which he could not do by himself. As Sir Bernard saw by the light of the lamp the very devout acts of Saint Francis, and considering devoutly the words he said, he was touched and inspired by the Holy Spirit to change his life.

Thus, when morning came, he called Saint Francis and said this: "Brother Francis, I am fully prepared in my heart to abandon the world and to follow you in what you will command me." Hearing this, Saint Francis rejoiced in spirit and said: "Sir Bernard, what you say is such a great and difficult thing that our Lord Jesus Christ must be asked for counsel. Pray to Him that He be pleased to show us His will about this, and to instruct us how we may put this into action. So let us go together to the bishop's residence, where there is a good priest, and we will have him say Mass and then we will stay in prayer until terce, praying to God that after three openings of the missal he may show us the way that pleases Him that we choose." Sir Bernard replied that this pleased him very much, so they got up and went to the bishop's residence. And after they heard Mass and had stayed in prayer until terce, the priest, at the request of Saint Francis, took the missal and, after making the sign of the most holy Cross, opened it three times in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And at the first opening there occurred that word that Christ said in the Gospel to the young man who asked about the way of perfection: "If you wish to be perfect, go and sell what you have, and give to the poor, and follow me." Mt 19:21 At the second opening there occurred that word that Christ said to the Apostles when He sent them to preach: "Do not carry anything on the way, neither a staff, nor wallet, nor shoes, nor money." Lk 9:3 Through this He wanted to instruct them that they should place all their hope in God for something to live on, and have as their whole intention to preach the holy Gospel. At the third opening of the missal there occurred that word that Christ said: "Whoever wishes to come after me, let him renounce himself, take up his cross and follow me." Mt 16:24 Then Saint Francis said to Sir Bernard: "Here is the counsel that Christ gives to us: go,




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 568