The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 550 

with the brothers, in great joy of mind and rejoicing of body, he passed over to the Lord.

To the praise and glory of Our Lord Jesus Christ.


1 At a time when Saint Francis was seriously ill, Brother Leo was serving him with great diligence and devotion. Once when Brother Leo was staying near Saint Francis and was praying, he was taken into ecstasy and led to a great, wide river with a strong current.

2 As he was watching those crossing over, he saw some brothers carrying burdens enter the river. These were immediately overwhelmed by the strong current of the river and the devouring depth swallowed them. Some went a third of the way across, and then perished; some, half way; and some, all the way to the end; but because of the burdens and loads which they carried, all were drowned by the river in different ways according to their different kinds of baggage, and without any relief they all most cruelly perished. Brother Leo, seeing such danger, felt compassion for them. But then some brothers appeared without any burdens or baggage of any kind, in whom only most holy poverty was shining. Entering the river they crossed without any harm.

5 Saint Francis, knowing by the Holy Spirit that Brother Leo had seen some vision, called to him after Brother Leo had returned to himself, and said: "Tell me what you saw." Then he related in detail all that he had seen. Saint Francis said to him: "What you saw is true: for the river is this world. The brothers swallowed by the river are those who do not follow evangelical profession and voluntary poverty. Those who crossed the river without danger are the brothers who have the Spirit of God, who neither possess nor seek anything earthly, anything of the flesh, but having food and clothing they are content with these. 1 Tm 6:8 Following Christ naked on the Cross, they daily embrace the burden of His Cross and the yoke of His obedience which are light and sweet. Therefore, they pass from temporal things to eternal things easily and without danger."




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 550