The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 531 

our redemption, our love, and our desire,”a the unfailing bread and wine that give joy to the choirs of angels and to the hearts of all the saints. O most gracious Master and most kind Shepherd enlighten me, because I am your poor little sheep, even though unworthy.

22Because a deferred desire begets a greater love, the blessed Christ, still retreating along the path, said nothing at all. Brother John, seeing that Christ was retreating and was not listening to him, rose to his feet again, and with holy boldness he ran like a needy poor man to Christ. Humbly falling at Christ’s feet, he begged him with devout tears: “O most sweet Jesus, have mercy on me, for I am afflicted! In the abundance of your mercy and in the truth of your salvation, hear me, and give me back the joy of your salvation. Because the earth is filled with your mercy, you know how violently I am being afflicted! I beg you to bring aid quickly to my darkened soul.” Ps 70:6 [Vulgate, Ps 69:6]

25Again the Savior retreated, saying nothing to Brother John, nor offering any consolation. It seemed that He wanted to leave as He went along the path, doing what a mother does with her child in order to stir up the child’s desire by depriving the baby of her milk as the baby is seeking milk. Then when the baby cries, the mother kisses and embraces him, then offers her milk indulgently, with greater sweetness. So Brother John for the third time followed the blessed Jesus Christ, crying very much like a suckling child after its mother, a little boy after his father and a humble disciple after a mer- ciful Master.

28After Brother John reached him, the blessed Christ turned His beloved face to him and stretched out his venerable hands, like a priest when he turns toward the people. Then Brother John saw wonderful rays of light coming from the most sacred breast of Christ, which illuminated not only the woods outside, but also his body and soul inside, filling them with divine brilliance. Then Brother John was taught how he should maintain a humble and reverent attitude with Christ. He immediately threw himself at Christ’s feet. Then the blessed Christ mercifully showed him those most holy feet, where Brother John poured out so many tears, that he seemed to be another Magdalene, asking Christ not to regard his sins, but through His most holy Passion and the shedding of His glorious Blood to revive his soul to the grace of divine love: “For this is Your commandment that we love You with our whole heart and with all our strength, which no




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 531