The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ the Crucified, and of His Mother the Virgin Mary. In this book are contained certain Little Flowers, Miracles and devout ensamples of the glorious mendicant of Christ, Messer St. Francis, and of certain of his Holy Companions, to the praise of Jesus Christ. Amen
FIRST, it is to be considered that the glorious Messer St. Francis in all the acts of his life was conformed to Christ the blessed: in that as Christ, at the beginning of His preaching, chose Twelve Apostles to despise every earthly thing and to follow Him in poverty and in the other virtues; so did St. Francis, at the beginning, choose for the foundation of his Order twelve companions, possessors of most high Poverty. And as one of the Twelve Apostles of Christ, being rejected of God, finally hanged himself by the neck; so likewise one of the twelve companions of St. Francis, whose name was Friar Giovanni della Cappella, apostatised and finally hanged himself by the neck. And unto the elect this is a great ensample and cause of humility and of fear; considering that no man can be certain that he will persevere unto the end in the grace of God. And as those Holy Apostles were of marvellous sanctity and humility before all the world and full of the Holy Ghost, so these most holy companions
of St. Francis were men of so much sanctity, that, from the time of the Apostles until now, the world had never such marvellous and holy men; for one of them was caught up into the third heaven, like St. Paul, and this was Friar Giles; one of them, to wit Friar Filippo Lungo, was touched upon the lips by an angel with a live coal, as was Esaias the prophet; one of them, and he was Friar Sylvester, spake with God, as one friend speaketh with another, after the manner that Moses did; one, by reason of the subtlety of his intellect, soared even unto the light of the Divine wisdom, as did the eagle, to wit John the Evangelist; the which was the most lowly Friar Bernard, who with very great understanding expounded the Holy Scriptures; one of them was sanctified of God and canonised in heaven, while yet he lived in the world; this was Friar Ruffino, a gentleman of Assisi; and in like manner every each of them was granted a singular seal of sanctity, as is hereinafter set forth.