The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 224 

Chapter XVIII
ABOUT THE FIERY CHARIOT AND THE KNOWLEDGE THAT BLESSED FRANCIS HAD OF THOSE ABSENT

47Walking before God with simplicity Gn 17:1
and among people with confidence, Prv 10:9
the brothers merited at that time to rejoice in a divine revelation.
They were on fire with the Holy Spirit
and with prayerful voices sang the "Our Father " Mt 6:9
in the melody of the Spirit.
They did this at all hours and not simply those assigned,
since earthly concerns and the nagging anxiety of cares
troubled them little.

One night the blessed father Francis was away from them in body. About midnight, some of the brothers were sleeping and others were praying in silence with deep feeling, when a brilliant fiery chariot entered through the little door of the house, and moved here and there through the little house two or three times. On top of it sat a large ball that looked like the sun, and it made the night bright as day.a Those who were awake were dumbfounded, while those sleeping woke up in a fright, for they sensed the brightness with their hearts as much as with their bodies. They gathered together and began to ask each other what all this meant. Lk 22:23 From the strength and grace of such great light, the conscience of each was revealed to the others.

At last they understood, realizing that the soul of the holy father radiated with great brilliance. Thus, thanks to the gift of his outstanding purity and his deep concern for his sons, he merited the blessing of such a gift from the Lord.

48They learned time and again by clear signs and their own experience that the hidden recesses of their hearts 1 Cor 14:25 were not hidden from their most holy father.

How often he knew the deeds of absent brothers,
not by human teaching but the revelation of the Holy Spirit!

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 321-322


Caput XVIII — De curru igneo et notitia absentium quam beatus Franciscus habebat.

471Ambulantes coram Deo simpliciter
et coram hominibus confidenter,
meruerunt tune temporis fratres divina revelatione laetificari.
2Dum enim igne Spiritus Sancti succensi,
non solum constitutis horis verum etiam qualibet hora,
cum parum
eos terrena sollicitudo vel molesta curarum anxietas occuparet,
Pater noster in melodia spiritus,
voce supplici decantarent,

beatissimus pater Franciscus, nocte quadam, se ab eis corpore absentavit. 3Et ecce, fere media noctis hora, quibusdam e fratribus quiescentibus, quibusdam vero in silentio affectuose orantibus, per ostiolum domus currus igneus splendidissimus intrans, bis et ter huc atque illuc per domicilium se convertit, supra quem globus maximus residebat, qui solis habens aspectum, noctem clarere fecit. 4Obstupefacti sunt vigilantes, exterriti sunt dormientes, et non minus cordis senserunt quam corporis claritatem. 5Convenientibus quoque in unum, coeperunt quaerere inter se, quid hoc esset: sed ex vi et gratia tantae lucis, unius alteri erat conscientia manifesta.

6Intellexerunt denique ac noverunt animam sancti patris exstitisse fulgore tam maximo radiantem, quae ob praecipuae puritatis suae gratiam et magnae pietatis in filios curam, tanti muneris benedictionem a Domino meruit obtinere.

481Et quidem manifestis indiciis saepius hoc probarant et experti fuerant occulta cordis eorum patrem sanctissimum non latere.

2O quoties, nullo docente homine, sed Spiritu Sancto revelante,
absentium fratrum acta cognovit,occulta cordium aperuit et conscientias exploravit!

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 224

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