The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 645 

Chapter 47

In that place of Soffiano, mentioned above, there was of old a Lesser Brother of such holiness and grace that he seemed wholly divine and was often rapt in God. Once while he was lifted up and completely absorbed in God, since he had particularly the grace of contemplation, birds of different kinds came to him and tamely settled on his shoulders, on his head and on his arms, and sang in wonderful way. This man was a great solitary, and rarely spoke, but whenever he was asked something, he responded so graciously and wisely that he seemed more angel than man, and he was a person of great prayer and contemplation, and the brothers held him in great reverence.

As this brother was finishing the course of his virtuous life, according to divine plan he became sick to the point of death, so that he could not eat anything, and he did not want to accept any human medicine, since all his confidence was in the heavenly doctor, the blessed Jesus Christ and in his blessed Mother, by whom, through divine clemency, he merited to be mercifully visited and treated. Thus once while he was in bed, preparing himself for death with all his heart and devotion, the glorious Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, appeared to him with a great multitude of angels and holy virgins, in great splendor, and drew near to his bed. On seeing her he received great consolation and delight in body and soul, and began to ask her humbly to beseech her beloved Son, that through His merits he free him from the prison of miserable flesh. As he persevered in this prayer with many tears, the Virgin Mary replied, calling him by name: "Have no doubts, son, your prayer has been heard, and I have come to comfort you a little before you depart from this life."

Beside the Virgin Mary were three holy virgins, carrying in their hands three bottles with an elixir of inexpressible fragrance and sweetness. Then the glorious Virgin took one of those bottles and opened it, and the whole house was filled with the fragrance. She took a spoonful of that elixir and gave it to the sick man, and as soon as he tasted it, he felt such comfort and sweetness that it seemed his soul could not stay in his body, so he began to say: "No more, O most holy and blessed Virgin Mary, blessed doctor and lady savior of the human race: no more, because I can't bear so much sweetness." But the merciful and kind Mother kept offering that elixir to the sick man and made him take it until the whole bottle was empty. Once




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 645