The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 529 

XLIX
CHRIST APPEARS TO BROTHER JOHN OF LA VERNA, WHO BECOMES ENRAPTURED WHILE EMBRACING HIM

1 How glorious is our Father Francis in the sight of God is apparent in his chosen sons whom the Holy Spirit brought together into the Order, so that truly the glory of such a great Father is his wise sons.

2 Among whom holy Brother John of Fermo,a also know as "of La Verna," shone forth in a special way, and as a wonderful star he glittered in the sky of the Order with the brilliance of grace. While he was still of a young age, in his wisdom he acted with the heart of an old man, and with his whole heart he desired the way of penance which guards the purity of mind and body. Therefore, while still a child, he wore chain mail and an iron band next to his flesh, and he carried the cross of abstinence daily. For before he took the habit of the brothers of Saint Francis he was staying at San Pietro at Fermo with the canons.b They were living splendidly, while he bound himself to abstinence with remarkable rigor, and amid evil doings he practiced the martyrdom of abstinence. But since he often endured obstacles from his companions who were opposed to his angelic zeal, to the extent that they stripped him of his chain-mail and impeded his abstinence, he was inspired by God to leave the world and those who loved it and offer the flower of his angelic youth to the arms of the Crucified.

8 Therefore, still a boy, he put on the habit of the Lesser Brothers and was assigned to a Master for training in spiritual things.c At times when he was listening to the words of God from the Master, his heart, melting like wax, Ps 22:15 [Vulgate, Ps 21:15] was so filled internally with gentle grace that externally he was forced to run, sometimes through the garden, sometimes through the church, sometimes through the woods, here and there as the inner flame forced him.

10 With the passage of time the grace of God raised this angelic man to different states, and made his actions orderly. Sometimes divine grace would carry him off to the splendors of the cherubim;

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 529

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