The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 616 

They went and found Brother Rinieri on the road and embraced him, saying what Saint Francis had ordered them. Such consolation and sweetness came into his soul that he was nearly beside himself; and thanking God with all his heart, he went on and reached the place where Saint Francis was lying ill. And even though Saint Francis was gravely ill, he got up and went to meet him, embraced him, and said to him: "My dearest son, Brother Rinieri, among all the brothers who are in the world I particularly love you." After saying this, he made the sign of the most holy Cross on his forehead and kissed him there, and then said to him: "My dearest son, God permitted this temptation for you to gain great merit, but if you don't want to gain any more, you won't." An amazing thing happened: as soon as Saint Francis had said these words, all the temptation left him at once as if he had never experienced it in his whole life, and he remained utterly consoled.

To the praise of Jesus Christ
and the little poor man Francis.

Chapter 28

The great grace that God showed many times to the evangelical poor who abandoned the world for love of Christ was shown in Brother Bernard of Quintavalle who, after he had taken the habit of Saint Francis, was very frequently rapt in God through contemplation of heavenly things. Among other times, once he was in church to hear Mass, and while his whole spirit was suspended in God, he became so absorbed and rapt in contemplation that, when the Body of Christ was being elevated he noticed nothing, nor did he kneel, nor did he pull back his capuche as the others did who were there. But without blinking his eyes, with a fixed stare, he remained out of his senses from morning until None. Returning to himself after None, he went through the place crying out in admiration: "Oh brothers! Oh brothers! Oh brothers! There is no one in this region so great or so noble for whom, if he were promised a very beautiful palace full of gold, it would not be easy to carry a sack full of manure in order to gain so noble a treasure."

Brother Bernard was so lifted up in spirit to this heavenly treasure, promised to lovers of God, that continually for fifteen years he




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 616