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 The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 502 

walked along the active way, serving both God and neighbor most faithfully, and he became very friendly with and dear to Saint Francis. So he learned many things from Saint Francis, and with the saint as his teacher, he understood the truth about many doubtful things, knew the will of the Lord about business to be done and according to the prophecy of the holy Father he served the brothers. He was made Minister in the March of Ancona; and because of the zeal for God which always burned in his heart, he directed the Province with the greatest peace and discernment, following the example of Christ who first wished to do, rather than teach.

4 After some time, the divine plan allowed him to have a grave temptation for the good of his soul, that he might be tested and refined like precious gold. Filled with anxiety and worry because of this great temptation, he afflicted himself with abstinence and disciplines and tears and prayers; but he was not able to free himself from the temptation. Many times he was led to the greatest despair, for because of the enormity of the temptation he believed that he was abandoned by God. Left in utter desolation and desperation he thought to himself: "I will arise and go to my Father Francis. If he shows me friendship, I believe that God will be well-disposed towards me; if he doesn't, it will be a sign that I'm abandoned by God." Quickly setting out, he went to Saint Francis. Saint Francis, however, lay very gravely ill in the palace of the Bishop of Assisi. And while he was thinking about the Lord, that brother's temptation was revealed to him, and his arrival, and his purpose. Immediately calling his companions, Brother Masseo and Brother Leo, he said: "Go quickly to meet my son, Brother Riccerio. On my behalf embrace him and greet him. Tell him that among all the brothers in the world I have a particular love for him." As true sons of obedience, they immediately left to meet Brother Riccerio. Finding him, they embraced him, just as Saint Francis had said, and they repeated the Father's loving words, which filled his soul with such consolation that he almost melted with happiness. This can hardly be expressed in words: how much joy he showed, how he jumped for joy, and how much praise and thanks he returned to God because God had prospered his journey. Oh good Jesus, you never abandon those who hope in You, but always give aid with the temptation that we may be able to bear it! 1 Cor 10:13

12 What more can we say! He arrived at the place where the angelic and most divine man Francis was lying, who, though Francis was seriously ill, got up and went to meet him, embracing him, saying: "My son, Brother Riccerio, among all the brothers who are in the whole world I love you." And making the sign of the Cross on his forehead and kissing him on the same place most lovingly, he said:

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 502

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