The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 619 

and give you hearts of flesh.' " Then Brother Rufino, seeing that Brother Francis told him in detail the whole course of his temptation, was stricken by his words, and began to weep heavily and adore Saint Francis and humbly acknowledged his fault in hiding the temptation from him. And thus he remained completely consoled and comforted by the admonitions of the holy father, and completely changed for the better. Finally Saint Francis said to him: "Go, my son, and make your confession, and don't give up dedication to your usual prayer, and know for certain that this temptation will be of great profit and consolation for you, as you will soon discover."

Brother Rufino returned to his cell in the woods, and as he remained in prayer with many tears, the enemy came impersonating Christ in outward appearance and said to him: "Oh, Brother Rufino, didn't I tell you not to believe the son of Pietro Bernardone? And not to wear yourself out in tears and prayers, because you're damned? What use is it to you to afflict yourself while you're alive, and then when you die, you'll be damned?" Brother Rufino immediately replied: "Open your mouth and I'll shit in it." The demon, indignant, left immediately with such a great storm and shaking of rocks on Mount Subasio up above there that for a long time rocks kept tumbling down. The crashing they made in colliding with each other was so great that they sent horrible sparks of fire throughout the valley. At this terrifying sound they made Saint Francis with the companions come outside the place in order to see what new thing this might be; and people can still see that great pile of rocks. Then Brother Rufino clearly recognized that the one who had tricked him was the demon. He then went back to Saint Francis and once again threw himself to the ground and acknowledged his fault. Saint Francis comforted him with sweet words and sent him back, all consoled, to the cell.

There, as he remained very devoutly in prayer, the blessed Christ appeared to him and warmed his whole soul with divine love, and said: "You did well, my son; you believed Brother Francis, because the one who made you sad was the demon. But I am Christ, your Master; and to make you quite certain I give you this sign: as long as you live, you will not feel any sadness or melancholy." Having said this, Christ departed, leaving him in such joy and sweetness of spirit and elevation of soul that he was absorbed and rapt in God day and night.

From then on, he was so confirmed in grace and in the assurance of his salvation that he was completely changed into another man, and he would have stayed contemplating the things of God day and night, if others had let him. Therefore, Saint Francis used to say that




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 619