The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 557 

meekness, holiness, and simplicity; and he frequently said in his talks with the brothers: "I know a brother to whom God manifested everything which is going to happen in the religion, and wonders if the hidden things which, if they were told, I do not say they could be understood, but they could even hardly be believed."

8 Brother James, among other things he revealed to me, said something really astonishing, namely, that after the many things that were shown to him about the status of the Church Militant,a he saw a beautiful and very tall tree whose root was gold with branches of silver and leaves of gilded silver.b The fruit of the tree were men, all Lesser Brothers. The number of the principal branches was divided according to the number of the provinces, and each branch had as much fruit as there were brothers in that province. And he knew the number of brothers in the whole Order, and in each of the provinces, their names, their faces, their ages, their qualities, their offices, their ranks, their dignities, their sins, and their graces. And he saw Brother John of Parma standing on the highest branch in the middle of the tree. At the tips of the branches surrounding the middle branch stood the Ministers of the individual provinces.

12 And after this he saw Christ sitting on a very large, dazzling white throne. He was sending Saint Francis out with two angels and there was given to him a full chalice filled with the spirit of life. And he was told: "Go and visit your brothers and have them drink of the chalice of the spirit of life, because the spirit of Satan will rise up and attack them, and many of them will fall and they will not try to rise."

13 Saint Francis came to administer the spirit of life to his brothers according to what was commanded him. And beginning with Brother John he gave him the chalice full of the spirit of life; and he took the chalice from the hand of Saint Francis and quickly and devoutly drank it all. And when he finished drinking he was made as luminous as the sun; and after him Saint Francis gave the chalice of the spirit of life to all in turn. There were very few who received it with due reverence and drank it all.

15 Those few who devoutly drank it all were all clothed in the brilliance of the sun; those, however, who poured it all out were turned into darkness. They became dark and deformed and terrifying, and like demons they were frightening to look at. Some drank a part, and the other part they poured out, and so according to what each one drank or poured out of the spirit of life given to him in the chalice by




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 557