The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 647 

Parma, was once rapt into God while praying and remained rapt in this ecstasy for three days, suspended from any bodily feeling, and he remained there so unaware that the brothers began to wonder if he was dead. And in this rapture God revealed to him what must happen concerning our religion, and when I heard this, my desire to hear him and speak with him increased.

And when it pleased God that I have the chance to talk with him, I asked him: "If what I heard said about you is true, I ask you not to hide it from me. I heard that when you remained as if dead for three days, God revealed to you, among other things, what is to happen in this Religion of ours, and this was said by Brother Matteo, Minister of the March, to whom you revealed it under obedience." Then Brother James, with great humility, admitted to him that what Brother Matteo said was true.

What he said, that is Brother Matteo, Minister of the March, was this: "I know this from Brother James, to whom God revealed everything that is to happen in our Religion, because Brother James of Massa confided in me and told me the following. After God revealed many things to him about the status of the Church Militant, he saw in a vision a beautiful and very large tree: its root was of gold; its fruit was men, and they were all Lesser Brothers. Its main branches were divided according to the number of the provinces of the Order, and each branch had as many brothers as there were in the province designated for that branch. And so he knew the number of all the brothers of the Order and of each province, and also their names, their ages, their conditions, their important duties, their dignities, and the graces of all, their merits and their faults. And he saw Brother John of Parma at the tip of the middle branch of this tree, and on the tips of the branches around this middle branch were the ministers of all the provinces. And after this he saw Christ sitting on a very large, dazzling white throne, and Christ called Saint Francis and gave him a chalice full of the spirit of life and ordered him: "Go and visit your brothers and give them to drink of this chalice of the spirit of life, because the spirit of Satan will rise up against them and strike them, and many of them will fall and will not rise up again." And Christ gave Saint Francis two angels to accompany him.

And so Saint Francis came to offer the chalice of life to his brothers and began to offer it to Brother John, who took it and quickly and devoutly drank it all, and immediately became all shining like the sun. And after him Saint Francis offered it to all the others, and there were few of them who would take it and drink it all with proper reverence and devotion. Those who took it devoutly and drank it all quickly became as bright as the sun; and those who poured it out and




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 647