The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
How St. Francis made Friar Masseo turn round and round many times, and thereafter gat him to Siena
ONE day, while St. Francis journeyed with Friar Masseo, the said Friar Masseo went a little before: and arriving at a certain place where three roads met which led to Florence, to Siena and to Arezzo, Friar Masseo said: "Father, by which way must we go?" St. Francis made answer: "By that which God shall will". Said Friar Masseo: "And how shall we be able to know the will of God?" St. Francis answered: "By the sign which I shall show thee. Wherefore I command thee by the duty of holy obedience, that in this place where three roads meet, on the spot where now thy feet are set, thou turn round and round, as children do, and stop not from turning thyself unless I bid thee do so." Then Friar Masseo began to turn himself round, and so much did he turn that, by reason of the dizziness of the head which is wont to be generated by such turning, he fell divers times to the ground: but, in that St. Francis did not bid him stop; he, desiring to obey faithfully, gat him up again (and resumed the said turning). At the last, while he was turning round manfully, St. Francis said: "Stand still, and move not"; and he stood; and St. Francis asked him: "Toward which part is thy face set?" Friar Masseo answered: "Toward Siena". St. Francis said: "That is the way whereby God wills that we go". Now, as they went by that way, Friar Masseo marvelled that St. Francis had made him do even as children do, before the worldly folk who were passing by: nevertheless, for
reverence’ sake, he ventured not to say anything to the holy father. As they drew nigh unto Siena, the people of the city heard of the coming of the saint, and went forth to meet him; and for devotion they bare him and his companion even unto the bishop's house, so that they touched no ground with their feet. In that hour certain men of Siena fought together and already two of them were slain; but when St. Francis arrived there, he preached to them so devoutly and holily that he brought them all to peace and to great unity and concord. For the which thing the Bishop of Siena, hearing of that holy work which St. Francis had done, invited him to his house and lodged him with great honour that day and also the night. And, on the morning of the following day, St. Francis, who, with true humility, in all his actions sought only God's glory, rose up early with his companion and gat him thence without the knowledge of the bishop. For which cause the said Friar Masseo went by the way murmuring within himself, and saying: "What is it that this good man hath done? He made me turn round like a child, and to the bishop who hath shown him so much honour he hath spoken never a word nor thanked him;" and it seemed to Friar Masseo that therein St. Francis had borne himself indiscreetly. But afterward, returning to his right mind by Divine inspiration, and reproaching himself in his heart, he said: "Friar Masseo, too proud art thou who judgest Divine works, and thou art worthy of hell for thy indiscreet pride; for yesterday Friar Francis wrought such holy deeds that if an angel of God had done them they could not have been more marvellous; wherefore, if he should bid thee throw stones, thou oughtest so to do and to obey him; and that which he did upon the way proceeded from Divine inspiration as is shown by the good
result which followed thereupon; in that if he had not made peace between them who fought together, not only would the sword have devoured the bodies of many, even as it had already begun to do, but also the devil would have carried away many souls to hell; and therefore art thou very foolish and proud who murmurest against that which manifestly proceedeth from the will of God". And all these things which Friar Masseo said in his heart, as he went before, were revealed of God to St. Francis. Wherefore St. Francis drew nigh unto him and spake thus: "Hold fast to those things which now thou thinkest, in that they arc good and useful and inspired of God; but the first murmuring which thou madest was blind and vain and proud, and was put in thy mind by the demon". Then Friar Masseo perceived clearly that St. Francis knew the secrets of his heart, and he understood certainly that the spirit of Divine wisdom guided the holy father in all his actions.