The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 584 

Chapter 11
HOW SAINT FRANCIS MADE BROTHER MASSEO TURN ROUND AND ROUND MANY TIMES, AND THEN HE WENT TO SIENA

One day Saint Francis was travelling with Brother Masseo, and the same Brother Masseo was walking a little bit ahead. When he reached a three-way crossroads, by which they could go to Florence, to Siena or Arezzo, Brother Masseo said, "Father, which road should we take?" Saint Francis answered, "The one that God wills." Brother Masseo said, "And how will we know the will of God?" Saint Francis answered, "By the sign that I will show you. I command you by virtue of holy obedience that in this crossroads, in the place where you have your feet placed, you turn round and round, as children do, and don't stop turning yourself if I don't tell you to." So Brother Masseo started to twirl around, and he turned so much that, because of dizziness in his head, which is normal with such turning, he fell down on the ground several times. But since Saint Francis did not tell him to stop and he wanted to obey faithfully, he kept getting up. Finally, while he was spinning quickly, Saint Francis said, "Stop! Don't move!" And he stopped, and Saint Francis asked him, "Where is your face pointing?" Brother Masseo answered, "Toward Siena." Saint Francis said, "That is the way that God wants us to go."

Travelling along that road, Brother Masseo was greatly amazed at what Saint Francis had made him do, like a child, in front of lay people who were passing by. But out of reverence he did not dare to say anything to the holy father.

As they neared Siena, the people of the city heard of the coming of the saint, and went out to meet him. Out of devotion they carried him and his companion to the bishop's palace, and his feet did not touch the ground at all. At that time many men of Siena were fighting each other, and two of them had already died. Arriving there, Saint Francis preached to them in such a devout and holy way, that he returned them all to peace and great humility and harmony with each other. Because of this, when the Bishop of Siena heard of the holy deed that Saint Francis had done, he invited him home, and received him with great honor that day, and also for the night. And the next morning Saint Francis, truly humble, who sought only the glory of God in his deeds, got up early with his companions, and left without the Bishop's knowledge.

Along the road Brother Masseo grumbled within himself about this, saying "What's this that this good man has done? He made me twirl around like a child, and to the bishop, who did him so much

 Previous

Next 

 

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 584

Hardcopies Available for Purchase