The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 513 

XXXIX
BROTHER LEO SEES SAINT FRANCIS LIFTED ABOVE THE EARTHa

1 When Saint Francis began to experience new, divine charisms in that blessed soul of his, he was not only frequently lifted into the air mentally but also lifted up from the earth bodily. God's wonderful plan for him was being carried out in these elevations. The more he felt the growing gifts of divine grace, the higher he was elevated from the earth, as many of his companions saw with the eyes of faith, particularly Brother Leo. Saint Francis quite frequently allowed him, because of his dove-like, even angelic innocence, to participate in his hidden dedication to prayer. Therefore, Brother Leo himself often deserved to see the holy father lifted into the air higher or lower according to the degree of heavenly feelings through which, growing from virtue to virtue, he was being carried up into God.

5 That same Brother Leo once saw Saint Francis lifted so high above the earth that he could touch the saint's feet. Another time he deserved to see the same most holy Father lifted to the tops of the trees; and once he was taken up to such a height that he was hardly able to see him. When he was able to touch the feet of blessed Francis, he would embrace them and kiss them with tears of devotion, saying: "God, be merciful to me, a sinner, and through the merits of this most holy man, make me find Your mercy." When Brother Leo saw him lifted so high that he could not touch him, he would prostrate himself below Saint Francis and say a prayer similar to the former. These elevations of the holy Father were in the place of La Verna and in many other places.

8 Saint Francis allowed only Brother Leo to touch his stigmata, while Leo was changing the bandages which he applied between those marvelous nails and the rest of the flesh in order to hold the blood and ease the pain. He changed them every day of the week except Thursday evening, and all day Friday, when he wanted no remedy to be applied, in order that for the love of Christ, on the day of the Crucifixion, truly crucified by the pains of the cross, he might hang with Christ. Sometimes Saint Francis would deliberately place his hands, marked with such venerable stigmata, on Brother Leo's heart. Brother Leo would feel such devotion in his heart from that touch that he would almost faint, untouched by frequent sobs in a healing numbness.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 513

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