The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 615 

Holy Spirit moved him to say. He preached so wonderfully that it seemed an angel was preaching, not a man; and his heavenly words seemed like sharp arrows, which so penetrated the hearts of those who heard him that during the sermon a great multitude of men and women were converted to penance.

Among these were two noble students from the March of Ancona, one named Pellegrino and the other Rinieri. These two, their hearts touched by divine inspiration, came to Saint Francis, saying that they wholeheartedly wished to leave the world and be among his brothers. Then Saint Francis, knowing by revelation that they had been sent by God and that they were to lead holy lives in the Order, and considering their great fervor, received them joyfully, saying to them: "You, Pellegrino, hold to the way of humility in the Order; and you, Rinieri, serve the brothers." And so it was: for Brother Pellegrino never wished to be a cleric brother but a lay brother, even though he was very educated and a great canonist. Because of his humility he arrived at the greatest perfection of virtue, so that Brother Bernard, the first-born of Saint Francis, said of him that he was one of the most perfect brothers in this world. Finally, this Brother Pellegrino, full of virtue, passed from this life to the blessed life, with many miracles before his death and afterward. And Brother Rinieri devotedly and faithfully served the brothers, living in great holiness and humility; and he became very friendly with Saint Francis, and Saint Francis revealed many secrets to him. He was made Minister of the March of Ancona, and governed it for a long time with the greatest peace and discernment.

After some time, God allowed a very great temptation in his soul. Troubled and anguished by it, he afflicted himself severely with fasts, with disciplines and with tears and prayers, day and night; but he could not drive out that temptation. Many times he was in great desperation, for because of it he believed that he was abandoned by God. In this desperation he decided to go to Saint Francis, thinking like this: "If Saint Francis looks kindly on me, and shows me friendship, as he usually does, I believe that God will still have pity on me; but if he doesn't, it will be a sign that I'll be abandoned by God." He set out therefore, and went to Saint Francis.

Saint Francis at that time was gravely ill, staying in the palace of the Bishop of Assisi. And God revealed to him everything about Brother Rinieri's temptation and desperation, his decision and his arrival. Saint Francis immediately called Brother Leo and Brother Masseo, and said to them: "Go quickly to meet my very dear son, Rinieri, and embrace him for me, and greet him and tell him that among all the brothers who are in the world I particularly love him."




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 615