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 The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 599 

stones more than mountains and rocks, and that more noble treasure were given to you for this illness, wouldn't you be happy and quite joyful?" Saint Francis answered, "Lord, I am not worthy of such a precious treasure." And the voice of God said to him: "Rejoice, Francis, because that is the treasure of eternal life, which I have kept for you, and from now on I invest you with it. This illness and affliction is the pledge of that blessed treasure." Then Saint Francis called his companion with the greatest joy over such a glorious promise, and said: "Let us go to the Cardinal." And first consoling Saint Clare with holy words, and humbly taking leave of her, he started his journey toward Rieti.

When he drew near there, such a multitude of people came out to meet him that he did not want to enter the city, so he turned aside to a church about two miles away from the city. The citizens, knowing that he was at that church, rushed around it in such numbers to see him, that the vineyard of the church was completely ruined and the grapes were all taken. The priest grieved deeply over this in his heart and he regretted that he had received Saint Francis in his church. God revealed the priest's thought to Saint Francis, who had the priest called to him and said to him, "Dearest father, how many loads of wine does this vineyard give you in a year when it yields best?" The priest replied that it yielded twelve loads. Saint Francis said: "I beg you, Father, to endure patiently my staying here for a few days because I find great rest here. And for the love of God and of me, a little poor man, allow everyone to take grapes from this vineyard of yours. On behalf of my Lord Jesus Christ I promise you that this year it will produce for you twenty loads." Saint Francis did this while staying there because of the great harvest of souls which he saw happening to the people who came there, many of whom went away inebriated with divine love and abandoned the world. The priest trusted the promise of Saint Francis, and freely left the vineyard to those who were coming to him. An amazing thing: the vineyard was totally demolished and devoured, so that barely a few small clusters of grapes remained. But when harvest-time came, the priest collected those little clusters and put them in the press and pressed them. And according to the promise of Saint Francis, he obtained twenty loads of the best wine. By this miracle it was clearly shown that just as by the merits of Saint Francis the vineyard stripped of its grapes abounded in wine, so the Christian people, fruitless in virtue because of sin, through the merits and teaching of Saint Francis abounded many times over in the good fruit of penance.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 599

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