The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 620 

Brother Rufino was canonized by Christ in this life, and that he would not hesitate, except in front of him, to call him Saint Rufino, though he was still living on earth.

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

Chapter 30

The same Brother Rufino was so absorbed in God through constant contemplation that he became as if unaware and mute. He very rarely spoke and, besides, he did not have the grace, the urge, or ability to preach. Nevertheless, Saint Francis once ordered him to go to Assisi and preach to the people whatever God should inspire him. At this Brother Rufino responded: "Reverend Father, I beg you to excuse me and not send me because, as you know, I do not have the grace of preaching, and I'm simple and uneducated." Then Saint Francis said: "Because you did not obey promptly, I command you under holy obedience that in just your breeches, naked as you were born, get to Assisi, and go into a church naked as you are, and preach to the people." At this command, the same Brother Rufino stripped himself and went to Assisi, and went into a church. After making his reverence to the altar, he climbed into the pulpit and began to preach. Children and adults began to laugh at such a thing, and they were saying: "Look, these men are doing so much penance that they're going crazy, out of their minds!"

In the meantime, as Saint Francis reflected on the prompt obedience of Brother Rufino, who was one of the great gentlemen of Assisi, and on the harsh command that he had given him, he began to rebuke himself, saying: "Where did you get such presumption, son of Pietro Bernardone, you vile little man, to command Brother Rufino, one of the great gentlemen of Assisi, to go preach naked to the people like a madman? By God, you'll experience yourself what you command of others!" In fervor of spirit he quickly stripped himself naked in the same way and went to Assisi, taking Brother Leo with him, who carried his habit and that of Brother Rufino. When the Assisians saw Saint Francis in that same state, they mocked him, thinking that he and Brother Rufino had gone crazy from too much penance. Saint Francis went into the church where Brother Rufino




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 620