The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
How St. Francis expounded unto Friar Leo a fair vision which he had seen
ONCE, when St. Francis was exceeding sick, Friar Leo waited on him; and it befel that, while the said Friar Leo was praying beside St. Francis, he was rapt in ecstasy and was carried in the spirit to a very great river, wide and rapid. And, as he waited to see who crossed over it, he beheld certain friars enter the river laden with burdens, and straightway they were overthrown by the force of the stream and were drowned; certain others went a third of the way across; others reached the middle of the river, and some almost gained the opposite bank; but, at the last, by reason of the force of the stream and of the burdens which they bore, all of them fell and were drowned. Now, when he saw this, Friar Leo had very great compassion for them; and anon, while yet he stood
there, lo! a great multitude of friars drew nigh, all of them without any burden or load of any kind; resplendent with the light of holy Poverty. And they entered the river and crossed over it without any danger; and, when he had seen this, Friar Leo came to himself again. Then St. Francis, perceiving in spirit that Friar Leo had seen some vision, questioned him concerning that which he had seen: and, when Friar Leo had told him all his vision in order, St. Francis said: "That which thou hast seen is true. The great river is this world; the friars who were drowning in the river are those who follow not the Gospel profession and especially with regard to most high Poverty; but they who passed over without danger are those friars who neither seek nor possess in this world any earthly or carnal thing, but having food and raiment are therewith content, following Christ naked on the cross; and gladly and willingly do they bear the burden and sweet yoke of Christ and of most holy Obedience; whereby they pass without difficulty from the temporal life to the life eternal."