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 An Umbrian Choir Legend - 474 

the prophet: "I have hidden your words in my heart to avoid any sin against you." Ps 119:11 [Vulgate, Ps 118:11]

Thus, although many saw the signs in his hands and feet, while the friend of the Crucified lived in the flesh, Gal 2:20 no one was able to see the wound in his side, except Brother Elias who, because of the special love the saint had for him,a put the saint's tunic on him one time and gave him his own in exchange. Brother Rufino, when allowed to scratch him, felt it palpably with his hand, but only by chance. As soon as he touched it, the holy one of God felt great pain and pushed his hand away, crying out for the Lord to spare him. Gn 19:16

3 Six months before the day of his death, while he was staying in Siena, his stomach trouble outweighed the eye disease, his whole body wasted away more gravely than previously, and he seemed close to death. Brother Elias quickly came to him. He cheerfully recovered at his arrival and left with him for "Le Celle" of Cortona. When his illness became even worse there, he had himself taken to Assisi. The city exulted at his arrival Est 8:15 and everyone unanimously rejoiced hoping that such a very precious treasure was being put back close among them.

While he was in the palace of the bishop of Assisi, since his illness grew worse, he lost all bodily strength and, deprived of his powers, he began to be atrociously tormented in every part of his body. When he was asked what he thought of the bodily suffering he was undergoing, he responded that he would more easily undergo any sort of martyrdom. But "The Lord's will," he said, "makes every difficulty light."

4 Indeed, when he saw his final day was drawing near, as he had learned two years before from Brother Elias to whom the Lord had deigned to reveal the father's passing, he called to him the brothers and sons whom he chose. He blessed each one as it was given to him from above, just as Jacob of old. When Brother Elias sat down on his left side with the other sons sitting around him, crossing his hands, he placed his right upon his head. Mk 3:13 But he had lost the sight and use of his bodily eyes, so he asked: "Over whom am I holding my right hand?" "Over Brother Elias," they replied. "And this is what I wish to do," he said. "I bless you, son, in all and through all. Eph 4:6 You took my burdens on your shoulders and have courageously met the needs of the brothers.b And just as the Most High has increased and pre-




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 474

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