The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 625 

Chapter 34

Saint Louis, the King of France, went on pilgrimage to visit the shrines throughout the world. Hearing about the great reputation for holiness of Brother Giles, who was one of the first companions of Saint Francis, he decided in his heart and firmly determined to visit him personally. For this reason he went to Perugia where Brother Giles was staying.

Arriving at the door of the place of the brothers like a poor, unknown pilgrim, with few companions, he asked urgently for Brother Giles, not telling the porter anything about who was asking for him. So the porter went to Brother Giles and said that there was a pilgrim at the door who was asking for him; and God inspired him and revealed to him in spirit that it was the King of France. So with great fervor he immediately came out of the cell and ran to the door, and without any further questions, though they had never seen each other, they both knelt down with great devotion, embraced each other and kissed each other with such familiarity as if they had shared a great friendship for a long time. But during this whole time neither of them said anything to the other but remained in silence, embracing with those signs of charitable love. Having stayed this way for a long time without saying a word to each other, they parted from each other; and Saint Louis resumed his journey, and Brother Giles returned to the cell.

As the King was leaving, a brother asked one of his companions who that man was, who had been embracing Brother Giles, and he replied that it was Louis, King of France, who had come in order to see Brother Giles. When he told this to the other brothers they were very upset that Brother Giles had not spoken a word to him, and they said to him bitterly: "O Brother Giles, why were you so rude? Here is a king who came from France to see you and to hear some good word from you, and you didn't say anything to him?" Brother Giles replied: "O dear brothers, don't be surprised at this: he couldn't say a word to me, nor I to him, because as soon as we embraced, the light of divine wisdom revealed and manifested his heart to me, and mine to him; and so, by divine action, as we looked into each other's hearts: whatever I wanted to say to him, or he to me, we already knew much better than if we had spoken with our mouths, and with greater consolation. And if we had wanted to express out loud what we felt in our hearts, that would have been more a cause of




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 625