CHAPTER LVI:'LITTLE FLOWERS' CONTINUED . . .
OF A HOLY FRIAR WHO SAW A WONDERFUL VISION OF A COMPANION WHO WAS DEAD
In the province of Rome a very devout and holy friar saw this wonderful vision. A brother, who was exceedingly beloved by him, died one night, and was buried in the morning at the entrance of the chapter house. On the same day the friar withdrew after dinner into a corner of the chapter house, and there prayed most fervently to God and St Francis for the soul of this his beloved companion. And persevering in prayer with many tears till midday, when all the rest lay down to sleep, on a sudden he heard a loud noise in the cloister. Being seized with great terror, he cast his eyes on the grave of his companion, and beheld St Francis standing at the entrance of the chapter house, and behind him a great multitude of friars surrounding the grave. And looking farther, he saw in the midst of the cloister a great and intense fire burning, and in it the soul of his deceased companion; and looking round the cloister, he beheld our Lord Jesus Christ going round it, with a great company of angels and saints. And as he beheld these things in great amazement, he saw that when Christ passed by the chapter house, St Francis will all those friars knelt down, and said to him: “I beseech thee, my dearest Lord and Father, by that inestimable charity which thou didst show to the human race in thine Incarnation, to have mercy upon the soul of this my brother, which is burning in that fire”; yet Christ answered nothing, but passed on. And, returning again the second time, and passing by the chapter house, St Francis knelt down again with his friars, and besought him in these words: “I beseech thee, most pitiful Father and Lord, by the unbounded charity which thou didst show to the human race when thou didst die for it on the wood of the cross, to have mercy on the soul of this my brother”; but Christ again passed by, and heeded him not. And going again round the cloister, he passed the third time by the chapter house, and then St Francis, kneeling down as before, showed him his hands and his feet and his side, saying: “I pray thee, merciful Lord and Father, by that great anguish and great consolation which I experienced when thou didst impress these stigmata upon my flesh, to have mercy on the soul of this my brother, which is in the flames of Puragatory.” Wonderful to tell, Christ being thus besought for the third time by St Francis, in the name of his stigmata, immediately stood still, and, looking upon them, he granted his prayer, saying: “I grant to thee, Francis, the soul of thy brother.” And hereby assuredly he intended to honour and confirm the glorious stigmata of St Francis, and openly to testify that the souls of his brethren which go to Purgatory have no easier way of deliverance than by virtue of his stigmata, by which they are freed from pain, and brought to the glory of Paradise, according to the words which Christ said to St Francis when he imprinted them upon his body.
No sooner had our Lord spoken these words than the fire in the cloister vanished, and the dead friar came to St Francis, and, together with him and with Christ, all that blessed company, with their glorious King, ascended into heaven. For which cause the friar his companion, who had prayed for him, seeing him delivered from suffering and received into Paradise, was filled with exceeding joy. And then he related the whole vision in order to the other friars, and all together they praised and gave thanks to God.