The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 657 

grown so much in him that, as he came to Qui pridie quam, he could hardly bear such gentleness and sweetness. Finally reaching the act of consecration, after saying half of the words over the host, that is, Hoc est enim, there was no way he could go further, and he just kept repeating those same words, that is, Hoc est enim. And the reason he could not go further was that he felt and saw the presence of Christ with a multitude of angels, whose glory he could not bear; and he saw that Christ did not enter the host, or rather that the host did not transubstantiate into the body of Christ if he did not say the other half of the words, that is, corpus meum. At this, as he stood there in this anxiety without going further, the Guardian and the other brothers and also many lay people who were in church to hear Mass came up to the altar and were amazed to see and consider the actions of Brother John, and many of them were crying from devotion. Finally, after a long time, that is, when God pleased, Brother John said corpus meum in a loud voice; and immediately the form of the bread disappeared, and in the host appeared the blessed Jesus Christ incarnate and glorified, and He showed him the humility and charity that made Him become incarnate from the Virgin Mary and that made Him come daily into the hands of the priest when he consecrates the host. Because of this he was lifted higher into the sweetness of contemplation. So, after elevating the host and consecrated chalice, he was rapt out of himself; and with his soul suspended from bodily feeling, his body fell backward and, if he had not been held by the Guardian, who was behind him, he would have fallen flat on the ground. At this the brothers and the lay people who were in church, men and women, ran to him, and he was carried into the sacristy as if dead, since his body was cold like a dead body, and his fingers were so contracted that they could hardly be straightened or moved. He lay like this, half-dead or rather enraptured until terce, and it was summer.

Since I, who was present there, desired very much to know what God had done to him, as soon as he returned to himself, I went to him and asked him for the love of God to tell me everything. Since he trusted me very much, he told me everything in detail; and among other things he told me that when he looked at the body and blood of Jesus Christ and even before, his heart was liquid like melted wax; and it seemed his flesh had no bones, so much so that he could hardly lift his arms or his hands to make the sign of the Cross over the host or over the chalice. He also told me that before he became a priest, it was revealed to him by God that he would faint during the Mass, but because he had already said many Masses, and this had not happened to him, he thought that the revelation had not been




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 657