The true and perfect joy
“What is true joy?”
The same (Friar Leonard) told that one day Francis, when in Santa Maria degli Angeli, called Friar Leo and said to him “Write, please, Brother Leo” and Leo answered “Here I am, ready for it” “Write” said Francis “what is true joy?”..
“If a messenger were to come and announce that all the teachers of Paris entered the Order, this would not be joy. If all the clergy beyond the Alps, the Bishops and Archbishops, the King of France and the King of England entered the Order too, that would not be 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 say that would not be true joy”.
“Then, what is true joy?”
“Well, upon coming back from Perugia here I come in middle of the night. It is a muddy and freezing winter, so cold that icicles hang from the hem of my robe and hurt my legs to the point of bleeding. Here I am, caked in mud, frozen and cold. I get to the front door and after much knocking and calling a Brother comes and says “Who is out there?” and I answer “It is me, Brother Francis” and he says “Go away, this is no time to get here and I am not letting you in” and whilst I am standing in front of the door replay “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 do not move from the door and beg “For the love of God take me in just for the night” and he replays “No, I will not let you in. Check with the Bearers of the Cross and ask them”.
Now if I remain patient and I do not get upset, I tell you,
this is true joy and this is the virtue and the salvation of the soul.