Posted: 07 Jan 2014 02:48 PM PST
“…And with one companion he [St. Francis of Assisi] chose a certain district, and he went into an inn where he had to rest overnight. And there he found a certain woman who was very beautiful in face and body but very foul in mind and soul. That cursed woman solicited St. Francis to commit a most shameful act with her.
St. Francis answered: ‘If you wish me to do what you want, you must also do what I want.’
‘I agree,’ she said. ‘So let's go and prepare a bed.’ And she led him toward a room.
But St. Francis said to her: ‘Come with me, and I will show you a very beautiful bed.’
And he led her to a very large fire that was burning in that house at that time. And in fervor of spirit he stripped himself naked and threw himself down on the fire in the fireplace as on a bed. And he called to her, saying: ‘Undress and come quickly and enjoy this splendid, flowery, and wonderful bed, because you must be here if you wish to obey me.’ And he remained there for a long time with joyful face, resting on the fireplace as though on flowers, but the fire did not burn or singe him.
On seeing such a miracle that woman was terrified and felt remorse in her heart. And she not only repented of her sin and evil intention but also perfectly converted to the faith of Christ, and through the merits of the holy Father she became so holy in grace that she won many souls for the Lord in that region.”
Authors note: I love St. Francis of Assisi for many reasons: first of all, even though I must have offended him greatly when I performed just about every evil act in his patron city of San Francisco - yet, he always seemed quite near to me; secondly, I have continuously found it fascinating how pop-culture misinterprets him as a proto-flower child and libertine, when, in reality, he was a strident defender of the Faith and a stalwart apostle of Christian morality; lastly, he was never afraid to humble himself in order to win a convert for Christ. He never wrote any one off, or believed that a sinner was unredeemable. But, he understood what God demanded, never looked upon the teachings of Christ as a burden, and treasured his fellow Man so much that he would happily give his life to save just one more soul.