The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 634 

grammar and nevertheless he spoke of God and the love of Christ so deeply and highly that his words seemed supernatural. Therefore, one evening when he had gone into the woods with Brother James of Massa to speak of God, and speaking very sweetly of divine love, they remained all night in that conversation; and in the morning it seemed to them only a very brief time had passed, as the same Brother James recounted to me. And that same Brother Simon received divine illuminations and loving visitations from God with such gentleness and sweetness of spirit that often, when he felt them coming, he would lie down on the bed, because the serene gentleness of the Holy Spirit required not only repose of his soul, but even of his body. And in those divine visitations he was very often rapt into God and became completely unaware of bodily things. Therefore once when he was thus rapt in God and unaware of the world, and he burned inwardly with divine love and felt nothing outwardly with the bodily senses, a brother who wanted to test this, to see if he was as he seemed, went and took a burning coal and put it on his naked foot. And Brother Simon felt nothing, and it made no mark on his foot, even though it stayed there for such a long time that it put itself out. That same Brother Simon, when he sat at table, before taking bodily food, took for himself and distributed spiritual food by speaking of God.

Once through his devout speaking a young man from San Severino was converted, one who was a very vain and worldly young man in society, noble in blood and very delicate in body. And Brother Simon, when receiving the young man into the Order, kept his secular clothes with him, as the young man stayed with Brother Simon to be informed about the Rule's observance. Because of this the demon, striving to prevent every good thing, put into him such a strong impulse and such a burning temptation of the flesh that the young man could not resist it by any means. For this reason he went to Brother Simon and said to him: "Give me back the clothes that I wore in the world, because I can't resist the temptation of the flesh any longer." And Brother Simon, having great compassion for him, said to him: "Son, sit down here with me for a little while." And he began to speak to him of God, in such a way that the whole temptation left him; and then after a while, as the temptation returned, and he kept asking for his clothes, Brother Simon would drive it away by speaking of God.

Having done this several times, finally one night that temptation attacked him more strongly than usual, and he could not resist it for anything in the world. He went to Brother Simon demanding absolutely to have his secular clothes, because he could by no means stay




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 634