The Little Flowers of St. Francis, tr. by W. Heywood, , at sacred-texts.com
Of the vision of Friar John of Alvernia whereby he understood all the order of the Holy Trinity
THE aforesaid Friar John of Alvernia, in that he had perfectly suffocated every worldly and temporal delight and consolation, and had set all his joy and all his hope in God, was given marvellous consolations and revelations by the Divine Goodness, and especially on the festivals of Christ; wherefore, on a time when the Festival of the Nativity of Christ drew nigh, whereon he looked with confidence to receive from God consolation of the sweet humanity of Jesus, the Holy Ghost put in his heart such great and exceeding love and fervour for the charity of Christ, whereby He humbled Himself to take upon Him our humanity, that of a verity it seemed to him that his soul was drawn forth from his body and that it burned like a furnace. Whereupon, not being able to endure such ardours, he was in agony and altogether melting away, and cried out with a loud voice; because, through the violent impulse of the Holy Ghost and through the too great fervour of love, he could not restrain himself from crying out. And in that hour wherein this measureless fervour came upon him, there came therewith so sure and certain a hope of salvation that, for nothing in the world, could he believe that, if he were then to die, he must pass through the pains of purgatory; and this love endured with him for six full months, albeit he felt not that excessive fervour continually, but it came
upon him at certain hours of the day. And during this time he received marvellous visitations and consolations from God; and oftentimes he was rapt in ecstasy, even as that friar, who first wrote of these things, saw. Among the which times, he was one night so elevated and rapt in God that he beheld in Him, the Creator, all created things, both celestial and terrestrial, and all their perfections and grades and separate orders. And then he clearly understood how every created thing represented its Creator, and how God is above, and within, and outside, and beside all created things. Thereafter, he discerned one God in Three Persons, and Three Persons in one God, and the infinite charity which caused the Son of God to become incarnate in obedience to the Father. And, finally, he perceived, in that vision, how that there was no other way whereby the soul could go to God and have eternal life, save only through Christ the blessed, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life of the soul.