What is the true and perfect joy?
Friar Leonard told that, one day, Saint Francis, when in Santa Maria degli Angeli, called him and said: «Write, please, Brother Leo.», and Leo answered: «Here I am, ready for it!».
«Write» – said Francis – «what is the true joy?
If a messenger were to come and announce that all the teachers of Paris have joined the Order, this would not be the true joy. If all the clergy beyond the Alps, the Bishops and Archbishops, the King of Franceand the King of England would enter the Order too, that would not be the true joy. If news came that all my Brothers went among the infidels and converted them all to the true faith, if I had been given by God enough power to heal the sick and perform many miracles, even in that case I would say: this is not the true joy.».
«Then, what is the true joy?»
«Well, one day I was back from Perugia and it was night. It was a muddy and freezing winter, so cold that icicles hanged from the hem of my robe and hurted my legs to the point of bleeding. Here I was, caked in mud, frozen and cold. I get to the front door and after much knocking and calling, a Brother cames and asked: «Who is out there?». And I answer : «It is me, Brother Francis!», and he said: «Go away, this is no time to get here! I will not let you in!», and whilst I was standing in front of the door, I replaied: «For the love of God, please let me in for the night.», and so I insist, whilst the answer: «Go away you are a simpleton and an idiot! I cannot let you in, there are too many of us already and we do not need you». I didn’t move from the door and beg: «For the love of God, take me in just for the night», and he replaied: «No, I will not let you in. Check with the Bearers of the Cross and ask them.».
Well, this is what happened to me, so, according to my experience I can say that: if I remain patient and I do not get upset, I tell you, this is the true joy and the virtue and the salvation of the soul.».