The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 264 

gracious look that he saw the Seraph gave him.a The Seraph’s beauty was beyond comprehension, but the fact that the Seraph was fixed to the cross and the bitter suffering of that passion thoroughly frightened him. Consequently, he got up both sad and happy as joy and sorrow took their turns in his heart. Concerned over the matter, he kept thinking about what this vision could mean and his spirit was anxious to discern a sensible meaning from the vision. Ps 143:4 [Vulgate, Ps 142:4]

While he was unable to perceive anything clearly understandable from the vision, its newness very much pressed upon his heart. Signs of the nails began to appear on his hands and feet, just as he had seen them a little while earlier on the crucified man hovering over him.

95His hands and feet seemed to be pierced through the middle by nails, with the heads of the nails appearing on the inner part of his hands and on the upper part of his feet, and their points protruding on opposite sides. Those marks on the inside of his hands were round, but rather oblong on the outside; and small pieces of flesh were visible like the points of nails, bent over and flattened, extending beyond the flesh around them. On his feet, the marks of nails were stamped in the same way and raised above the surrounding flesh. His right side was marked with an oblong scar, as if pierced with a lance, and this often dripped blood, so that his tunic and undergarments were frequently stained with his holy blood.b

Sadly, only a few merited seeing the sacred wound in his side during the life of the crucified servant of the crucified Lord. Elias was fortunate and did merit somehow to see the wound in his side.c Rufino was just as lucky: he touched it with his own hands. 1 Jn 1:1 For one time, when the same brother Rufino put his hand onto the holy man’s chest to rub him,

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 370-371


4Gaudebat quoque plurimum et vehementius laetabatur in benigno et gratioso respectu, quo a Seraphim conspici se videbat, cuius pulchritudo inaestimabilis erat nimis, sed omnino ipsum crucis affixio et passionis illius acerbitas deterrebat.5Sicque surrexit, ut ita dicatur, tristis et laetus, et gaudium atque moeror suas in ipso alternabant vices.6Cogitabat sollicitus, quid posset haec visio designare, et ad capiendum ex ea intelligentiae sensum anxiabatur plurimum spiritus eius.

7Cumque liquido ex ea intellectu aliquid non perciperet et multum eius cordi visionis huius novitas insideret, coeperunt in manibus eius et pedibus apparere signa clavorum, quemadmodum paulo ante virum supra se viderat crucifixum.

95 1Manus et pedes eius in ipso medio clavis confixae videbantur, clavorum capitibus in interiore parte manuum et superiore pedum apparentibus, et eorum acuminibus exsistentibus ex adverso. 2Erant enim signa illa rotunda interius in manibus, exterius autem oblonga, et caruncula quaedam apparebat quasi summitas clavorum retorta et repercussa, quae carnem reliquam excedebat. 3Sic et in pedibus impressa erant signa clavorum et a carne reliqua elevata. 4Dextrum quoque latus quasi lancea transfixum, cicatrice obducta, erat, quod saepe sanguinem emittebat, ita ut tunica eius cum femoralibus multoties respergeretur sanguine sacro.

5Heu quam pauci, dum viveret crucifixus servus Domini crucifixi, sacrum lateris vulnus cernere meruerunt! 6Sed felix Helias, qui, dum viveret sanctus, utcumque illud videre meruit; sed non minus felix Ru

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 264

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