LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, Chapter 41

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HOW THE VENERABLE BROTHER SIMON DELIVERED A BROTHER FROM A GREAT TEMPTATION, ON ACCOUNT OF WHICH HE WAS ON THE POINT OF LEAVING THE ORDER

The main story in this chapter is about a man who on more than one occasion yields to temptation and asks to be allowed to leave the order. There are interesting side stories. Before the main story, we are told of someone trying to give Brother Simon a hot foot, as it would be called nowadays, with a hot coal. This was to test how deeply Brother Simon was absorbed in his prayers. Brother Simon felt no pain and received no burn. Interestingly, Brother Simon is described as a burning coal after the main story.

In a side story, we read of Brother Simon begging a judge to remove one of his eyes instead of having both eyes of a condemned criminal removed. In another side story, annoying crows, in response to a prayer of Brother Simon, leave and never return. I assume that there is some connection between these side stories and the main one. It seems a stretch to say that these stories are about Brother Simon dealing with his own temptations. Maybe someone will suggest a better explanation for their occurence here.

Side Stories by John James

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