The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul - 361 

Chapter CXXXV

178This most holy man sometimes went out of the mind to God 2 Cor 5:13 in a wondrous manner, and was overflowed with joy in the spirit, whenever the sweet fragrance 2 Cor 2:15 of his sons reached him.

Once a Spaniard, a devout cleric, happened to enjoy some time seeing and talking with Saint Francis. Among other news about the brothers in Spain, he made the saint happy with this report: "Your brothers in our country stay in a poor hermitage. They have set up the following way of life for themselves: half of them take care of the household chores and half remain free for contemplation. In this manner each week the active half moves to the contemplative, and the repose of those contemplating returns to the toils of labor.a One day, the table was set and a signal called those who were away. All the brothers came together except one, who was among those contemplating. They waited a while, and then went to his cell to call him to table, but he was being fed by the Lord at a more abundant table. For they saw him lying on his face on the ground, stretched out in the form of a cross, and showing no signs of life; not a breath or a motion. At his head and at his feet there flamed twin candelabra, which lit up the cell with a wonderful golden light. They left him in peace so as not to disturb his anointingb or awaken the beloved until she wished. The brothers peeked through the openings in the cell, standing behind the wall and peering through the lattice. What else? While the friends listened for her who waited in the gardens, suddenly the light disappeared and the brother returned to his human self. He got up at once, came to the table, and confessed his fault for being late. That's the kind of thing," said the Spaniard, "that happens in our country."

Saint Francis could not restrain himself for joy; he was so pervaded by the fragrance of his sons. Gn 27:27 He suddenly rose up to give praise, as if his only glory was this: hearing good things about the brothers. He burst out from the depths of his heart: "I give you thanks Lord, Sanctifier and Guide of the poor, you who have gladdened me with this report about the brothers! Bless those brothers, I beg you, with a most generous blessing, and sanctify with a special gift all those who make their profession fragrant through good example!"




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 361