The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 628 

guest, him and a companion, like angels of God, with the greatest courtesy and devotion. For this reason Saint Francis had great love for him, considering how on entering the house he had embraced him and kissed him in a friendly way, and then had washed his feet and dried them and kissed them humbly, and lit a great fire and prepared the table with many good kinds of food, and while he was eating the man kept serving him constantly with a happy expression. So, when Saint Francis and the companion had eaten, this gentleman said: "Look, my father. I offer you myself and my things; whenever you have need of a tunic or mantle or anything at all, buy it and I will pay; and you see that I'm prepared to provide for all your needs since, by the grace of God, I can do so because I have an abundance of temporal goods, but for the love of God, who gave them to me, I gladly give them to His poor."

Saint Francis, seeing such courtesy and loving kindness in him and the generous offer, conceived such love for him that as he left with his companion he said: "Truly this gentleman would be good for our religion and company, he is so thankful and grateful to God and so loving and courteous to his neighbor and to the poor. Dear Brother, know that courtesy is one of the qualities of God, who gives His sun and his rain to the just and unjust out of courtesy; and courtesy is the sister of charity, extinguishing hatred and preserving love. Mt 5:45 And since I have recognized such divine virtue in this good man, I'd gladly have him as a companion; so I want us to return to him one day, if God should perhaps touch his heart to make him want to join us in the service of God; and in the meantime we'll pray to God that He put this desire in his heart and gives him the grace to put it into practice." Something amazing happened: a few days later, after Saint Francis had made his prayer, God put that desire in the heart of this gentleman; and Saint Francis said to the companion: "My brother, let's go to that courteous man, because I have firm hope in God that he who shows courtesy in temporal things will give his very self and will be our companion." And off they went.

On reaching his house, Saint Francis said to the companion: "Wait for me a bit, because I first want to pray to God that He make our journey fruitful, that Christ, by virtue of His most holy passion, be pleased to give us poor and weak men this noble prey that we're planning to take from the world." Having said this, he placed himself in prayer in a place where that courteous man could see him. And it pleased God, as that man was looking here and there he saw Saint Francis devoutly at prayer before Christ, who had appeared to him during that prayer and was in front of him; and as the man stood there, he saw Saint Francis lifted up bodily from the earth. Because




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 628