St Francis - The Little Flowers
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Little Flowers of Saint Francis - Saint Francis of Assisi [attributed]
Summary of book
Most of the stories that surround the life of St Francis deal with his love for animals and many are recounted in the 'Fioretti' (The "Little Flowers"), a collection of legends and folk-lore that sprang up after the Saint’s death. It is better to think of these stories in terms of mythology and what they can teach us. GK Chesterton, who wrote the best biography on St. Francis, said it is the attitude of Francis towards the events recounted as the 'little flowers' rather than the events themselves, which matters…...
Another legend from the Fioretti tells that in the city of Gubbio, where Francis lived for some time, was a wolf “terrifying and ferocious, who devoured men as well as animals”. Francis had compassion upon the townsfolk, and went up into the hills to find the wolf.
Soon, fear of the animal had caused all his companions to flee, though the saint pressed on.
When he found the wolf, he made the sign of the cross and commanded the wolf to come to him and hurt no one.
Miraculously the wolf closed his jaws and lay down at the feet of St. Francis.
“Brother Wolf, you do much harm in these parts and you have done great evil…” said Francis. “All these people accuse you and curse you…But brother wolf, I would like to make peace between you and the people.”
Then Francis led the wolf into the town, and surrounded by startled citizens made a pact between them and the wolf. Because the wolf had “done evil out of hunger”, the townsfolk were to feed the wolf regularly, and in return, the wolf would no longer prey upon them or their flocks.
In this manner Gubbio was freed from the menace of the predator. Francis, ever the lover of animals, even made a pact on behalf of the town dogs, that they would not bother the wolf again.