The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 641 

eternal life. When the sermon was ended, that boy went to the same Brother Philip and said: "Father, if you will, please receive me into the Order, I'll willingly do penance and serve our Lord Jesus Christ." Brother Philip, seeing and recognizing in this boy wonderful innocence and a will ready to serve God, said to him: "Come to me on such and such a day at Recanati and I will have you received." In that place a Provincial Chapter was to be held. At this the boy, who was very pure, thought to himself that this was the great journey that he had to take, as had been revealed to him, and then he would go off to Paradise; and that is what he thought he would do as soon as he was received into the Order. So he went and was received, but he saw that what he had thought did not happen then. But in the Chapter the Minister said that if anyone wished to go to the Province of Provence for the merit of holy obedience he would give him permission. And Brother John got a great desire to go there, thinking that this was the great journey which he had to make before he went to Paradise. But he was ashamed to say so, so finally confiding in that same Brother Philip who had him received into the Order, he asked him kindly to obtain for him the grace of going to the Province of Provence. Brother Philip, recognizing his purity and his holy intention, obtained permission for him to go; and Brother John, with great joy, prepared to go, firmly convinced that, once that journey was completed, he would go to Paradise. But, as it pleased God, he stayed in the province mentioned for twenty-five years, in great expectation and desire, living in great goodness and holiness and good example, constantly growing in virtue and in the grace of God and of the people, deeply loved by both the brothers and the laity.

One day while Brother John was devoutly at prayer, weeping and lamenting that his desire had not been fulfilled and that his pilgrimage in this life was becoming too prolonged, the blessed Christ appeared to him, and on seeing Him his soul completely dissolved, and Christ said to him: "My son, Brother John, ask me for what you want." And he answered: "My Lord, I don't know what to ask of You except Yourself, because I desire nothing else; but I do ask You this one thing, that You forgive me all my sins, and that You give me the grace to see You again when I have the greatest need." Christ said: "Your prayer has been heard." And after saying this, He departed, and Brother John remained completely consoled.

Finally, when the brothers of the March heard of his reputation for holiness, they so insisted with the General that he sent him the obedience to return to the March; and he received it happily, setting off on the road, thinking that once he finished that journey he would go to heaven, according to the promise of Christ. But when he had

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 641

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