The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 621 

was preaching in these words: "My dear people, flee from the world and abandon sin; give back what belongs to others, if you want to avoid hell; observe the commandments of God, loving God and your neighbor, if you want to go to heaven; do penance, Mt 3:2 if you want to possess the kingdom of heaven." And then Saint Francis climbed into the pulpit naked and began to preach so wonderfully about despising the world, holy penance, voluntary poverty, the desire for the heavenly kingdom, about the nakedness and shame of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all who were at the sermon, men and women in great numbers, began to weep loudly, with amazing devotion and compunction of heart; and not only there, but through all of Assisi there was such weeping that day over the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ that there was never anything like it.

With the people edified in this way and consoled by the action of Saint Francis and Brother Rufino, Saint Francis reclothed Brother Rufino and himself, and thus reclothed, they returned to the place of the Portiuncula, praising and glorifying God who had given them grace to conquer themselves by despising themselves, and to edify Christ's sheep with good example, and showed how the world should be despised. And on that day the people's devotion toward them increased so much that those who were able to touch the hem of their habit considered themselves blessed.

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

Chapter 31

Just as our Lord Jesus Christ says in the Gospel: "I know my sheep, and my sheep know me . . ." Jn 10:14 so the blessed Father Saint Francis, as a good shepherd, knew by divine inspiration all the merits and virtues of his companions and also knew their failings; therefore he knew how to provide the best remedies for them all, that is: humbling the proud; exalting the humble; reviling vices and praising virtues, just as we read in the amazing revelations he had about his earliest family.

Among these we find that once Saint Francis was in a certain place with that same family conversing about God, and Brother Rufino was not with them for that conversation, but was in the




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 621