The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 560 

and his ill will and secretly went and scratched the sacred stigmata off the picture of our holy Father so that they were in no way visible.

4 On the following day, when this same brother was seated at table, he looked at the image of Saint Francis, and he saw the stigmata there in the places were he had erased them. They seemed to be new and like the first marks. He angrily thought that he had not scratched them off well enough in the first place. Watching for a time when no one was present, because he who does evil hates the light, he went and a second time scraped off the stigmata of the saint in such a way, however, that the base paint was not destroyed. On the third day, when the same brother was seated at table, he looked at the image of Saint Francis. And again he saw those sacred stigmata, more beautiful and new than they had ever appeared before. Then this brother, blinded by wickedness and led on by unfaithfulness, added a third sin to the second. He said to himself: "By God, I will blot out that stigmata in such a manner that it will never be seen again!" And as he did before, he watched for the time when the eyes of men would not see him; and, forgetting that the eyes of God make all things bare and open them to view, he took a knife and in a furious attack gouged out the signs of the stigmata from the picture by digging into the color and the base.

9 As soon as he finished his gouging, blood began to flow, and with the blood violently spurting forth, it began to stain with blood the brother's hands, face and tunic. Terrified, he fell down as though he were dead. Like a stream that blood flowed down the wall from that sacred stigmata which were gouged by that miserable man. In the meantime the brothers of that convent came upon him lying on the ground as if devoid of life, and remembering his malice they were filled with sorrow. Seeing, moreover, that the blood continued to flow, they stopped up those holes with cotton and bandages, but they could not stem the flow of blood. Therefore, fearing that the laity would see it and as a result they would have to endure scandal and scorn, they devoutly thought that they should have recourse to Saint Francis. The Prior together with all in the convent took off their habits in front of the image of Saint Francis, and applied the discipline to their backs, and in tearful prayer they asked Saint Francis to forgive the offense of their brother and to graciously stem the flow of blood.

14 Due to their humility their prayer was immediately heard. The blood flowed no more and the stigmata of the saint remained in all its beauty to be venerated by all. From that time on the brother became most devoted to Saint Francis. And, as the brothers at La Verna have testified, this same brother out of devotion made a visit

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 560

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