The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 588 

bodily nourishment with these pieces of bread and that water, they got up to walk to France.

And on reaching a church, Saint Francis said to his companion, "Let's go into this church to pray." And Saint Francis went behind the altar and placed himself in prayer, and in that prayer he received from a divine visitation such overflowing fervor, so inflaming his heart with love of holy poverty that, by the color of his face and the movements of his mouth, he seemed to be spewing out flames of love. And, thus inflamed, coming to his companion, he said to him, "Ah! Ah! Ah! Brother Masseo! Give me your very self." And he said this three times, and the third time Saint Francis, with his breath, lifted Brother Masseo into the air and threw him forward the space of a long spear. Brother Masseo was greatly surprised by this: he later told the companions that as he was lifted and tossed this way by Saint Francis, he felt such sweetness of spirit and consolation of the Holy Spirit that he had never felt anything like it in his life. And having done this, Saint Francis said, "My dear companion, let's go to Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and pray to them to teach and help us to possess the immeasurable treasure of most holy poverty, since she is such a worthy treasure 2 Cor 4:7 and so divine that we are not worthy to possess her in our worthless vessels: she is that heavenly virtue by which all earthly and passing things are trodden underfoot and every obstacle is removed from the soul's path, so that it can freely join with the eternal God. This is the virtue that makes the soul, even while on earth, live in heaven with the Angels. She is the one who accompanied Christ onto the cross; with Christ she was buried; with Christ she rose up to heaven; and even in this life she grants to souls who fall in love with her, the ability to fly into heaven, since she holds the weapons of true humility and charity. So let us pray to the most holy Apostles of Christ, who were perfect lovers of this evangelical pearl, that they gain for us this grace from our Lord Jesus Christ: that by His most holy mercy he grant us to be considered worthy to be true lovers, observers and humble disciples of most precious, most beloved and evangelical poverty."

And while talking this way they reached Rome and entered the church of Saint Peter; and Saint Francis placed himself in prayer in one corner of the church, and Brother Masseo in another. And as Saint Francis remained in prayer for a long time with devotion and many tears, the most holy Apostles Peter and Paul appeared to him with great splendor and said, "Since you request and desire to observe what Christ and the holy Apostles observed, our Lord Jesus Christ sends us to you to announce that your prayer has been heard: God most perfectly grants to you and your followers the treasure of




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 588