The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 226 

49 I shall relate only one account, undoubtedly true, about how he knew the hidden recesses of troubled hearts, something that many often experienced.

There was a certain brother named Riccerio, noble by birth but more noble in character, a lover of God and despiser of himself. With a devout spirit he was led wholeheartedly to attain and possess the favor of the blessed father Francis. He was quite fearful Jdt 8:8 that the holy man Francis would detest him for some secret reason and thus he would become a stranger to the gift of his love. That brother, since he was fearful, Lk 2:25 thought that any person the holy man Francis loved intimately was also worthy to merit divine favor. On the other hand, he judged that someone to whom he did not show himself kindly and pleasant would incur the wrath of the supreme Judge. This brother turned these matters over in his heart; he silently spoke of these matters Gn 24:45 to himself, but revealed to no one else his secret thoughts.

50 One day the blessed father was praying in his cell and that brother came to the place disturbed by his usual thoughts. The holy one of God Lk 4:34 knew both that the brother had come and understood what was twisting in his heart. So the blessed father immediately called him to himself. "Let no temptation disturb you, son," he said to him, "and do not be troubled by any thought. You are very dear to me and you should know that, among those dearest to me, you are worthy of my love and intimacy. Come to me confidently whenever you want, knowing you are welcome, and, in this intimacy, speak freely." That brother was amazed and from then on became even more reverent. The more that he grew in the holy father's grace, the more he began to enjoy God's mercy with confidence.

How bitterly they feel your absence, holy father,
who completely despair
of ever finding anyone like you on earth!
We ask you, through your intercession,
help those covered by the harmful stain of sin.
Though you were already filled
with the spirit of all the just,a
foreseeing the future

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 323-325


491Quod vero alienorum cordium occulta cognoverit, inter multa quae multi saepius sunt experti, unum, de quo nulla potest exoriri dubitatio, in medium proferatur.

2Frater quidam, Riccerius nomine, nobilis genere sed nobilior moribus, amator Dei et sui contemptor, cum pio spiritu et voluntate plenissima duceretur, ut sancti patris Francisci gratiam perfecte posset assequi et habere, timebat valde o, ne sanctus Franciscus eum occulto aliquo iudicio abhorreret, et sic a gratia dilectionis suae ipsum redderet alienum. 3Putabat frater ille, quoniam timoratus erat quemcumque sanctus Franciscus intima charitate diligeret, dignum etiam fore divinam gratiam promereri: e regione vero, cui non se benevolum ostenderet et placatum, arbitrabatur eum iram superni iudicis incursurum. 4Haec autem dictus frater volvebat in animo, haec secum frequenter tacitus loquebatur, nulli prorsus revelans suae cogitationis arcanum.

501Caeterum cum die quadam beatus pater in cellula esset orans, et dictus frater solita cogitatione turbatus venisset ad locum, sanctus Dei et adventum eius cognovit et quod volvebat animo intellexit. 2Statim proinde fecit eum ad se vocari, et dixit ad eum: « Nulla te conturbet tentatio, fili, nulla cogitatio exacerbet, quoniam carissimus mihi es, et inter praecipue mihi caros mea dilectione ac familiaritate dignum te noveris. 3 Securus ad me intra, quando volueris, et de familiaritate sume facundiam ». 4Miratus est frater dictus admiratione permaxima, et exinde reverentior factus, quantum crevit in gratia sancti patris tantum coepit in Dei misericordia fiducialius dilatari.

5Quam aegre, pater sancte, tuam debent absentiam ferre
qui omnino desperant
in terris ultra tui similem invenire.
6Iuva, quaesumus, intercessione,
quos obvolutos cernis noxia labe peccati.
7Cum esses
omnium iustorum spiritu iam repletus,
futura praevidens

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 226