The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 627 

Chapter 36
HOW SAINT FRANCIS DESCRIBED TO BROTHER LEO A BEAUTIFUL VISION HE HAD SEEN

One time when Saint Francis was seriously ill and Brother Leo was taking care of him, that same Brother Leo was near Saint Francis and was praying, and he was rapt in ecstasy and led in spirit to a very great river, wide and turbulent. As he was watching those crossing over, he saw some brothers with heavy loads entering that river. They were immediately overwhelmed by the force of the river and drowned. Several others went a third of the way across the river, and some as far as the middle of the river, and some as far as the shore; but all of them, because of the force of the river and the loads they carried with them, finally fell in and drowned. Brother Leo, seeing this, felt great compassion for them; and suddenly, as he stood there, a great multitude of brothers arrived, without any loads or burdened by anything at all, and in whom shone holy poverty. They entered the river and crossed it without any harm at all. Having seen this, Brother Leo returned to himself.

Then Saint Francis, sensing in spirit that Brother Leo had seen a vision, called him to himself, and asked him what he had seen. And the same Brother Leo told him the whole vision in detail, and Saint Francis said: "What you saw is true. The great river is this world; the brothers who drowned in the river are those who do not follow their evangelical profession especially in regard to the highest poverty. Those who crossed without danger are those brothers who neither seek nor possess anything earthly or anything of the flesh, but are content having only basic food and clothing, 1 Tm 6:8 following Christ naked on the Cross and willingly and happily carrying the burden and the gentle yoke of Christ and of holy obedience; and therefore they cross easily from temporal life to eternal life."

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

Chapter 37
HOW THE BLESSED JESUS CHRIST, AT THE PRAYER OF SAINT FRANCIS, MADE A RICH AND NOBLE KNIGHT CONVERT AND BECOME A BROTHER, A MAN WHO HAD RENDERED GREAT HONOR AND SERVICE TO SAINT FRANCIS

Saint Francis, the servant of Christ, late one evening reached the house of a great and powerful gentleman, who received him as a

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 627

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