The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 590 

To the praise of Jesus Christ
and the little poor man Francis.

Chapter 15

While Saint Francis was staying in Assisi he visited Saint Clare many times, giving her holy instructions. She greatly desired to eat once with him and she asked him for this many times, but he never wanted to grant this consolation. So his companions, seeing the desire of Saint Clare, said to Saint Francis: "Father, it does not seem to us that this rigidity is in accord with divine charity, that you do not grant to Sister Clare such a small thing as eating with you, as she is such a holy virgin, beloved of God; especially considering that she abandoned the riches and vanities of the world because of your preaching. Truly, even if she were to ask you a greater favor than this you should do it for your spiritual plant." Then Saint Francis replied, "It seems to you that I should grant her request?" The companions responded, "Yes, Father, it is only right that you grant her this favor and consolation." Then Saint Francis said, "Since it seems this way to you, it also seems that way to me. But so that she may be even more consoled, I want this meal to be held at Saint Mary of the Angels, since she has been enclosed for a long time in San Damiano, and it will do her good to see the place of Saint Mary, where she was tonsured and became the spouse of Jesus Christ; and there we will eat together in the name of God."

When the appointed day arrived, Saint Clare with a companion came out from the monastery, was accompanied by companions of Saint Francis, and came to Saint Mary of the Angels. After she devoutly greeted the Virgin Mary in front of her altar, where she had been tonsured and veiled, they took her around to see the place until it was time to eat. And in the meantime Saint Francis had the table prepared on the bare ground, as he usually did. When it was time to eat they sat down together: Saint Clare with Saint Francis; one of the companions of Saint Francis with the companion of Saint Clare; then all the other companions gathered humbly at the table. And as a first course Saint Francis began to speak of God so sweetly, so deeply, and so wonderfully that the abundance of divine grace descended upon them, and all were rapt into God.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 590