LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, Chapter 41

willbulow's picture

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

Thanks for posting on this chapter. I like the idea of the side stories being metaphors hinting at the temptations of Br. Simon. If they are alluding to that, then maybe they are also suggesting that Br. Simon received assistance during his times of trial. Maybe the story is illustrating that the whole pattern of a new monk relying on a more seasoned monk is an important component of what gets them through their initial stages of formation, at least during the rough moments. In fact, now that I think about it, the new monk offers to give his eyes to save the malefactor. So, the whole story centers around the concept of taking on someone else's troubles, that the work we do with our own personal Conversatio Morum can easily be transferred to others. Others can pick up on our strength, our rapture, and this promotes the progression of development in them, even to the point of preventing them from having to experience the difficulties and trials. The strong power of love can block anything lesser out.

pax -
Br. John James




Advertisements