BLESSED FRANCIS’ CALMNESS IN TRIBULATION.
The similitude of the nest of the halcyon or kingfisher, supposed to float on the sea, which our Saint describes so well and applies so exquisitely in one of his letters, was the true picture of his own heart.
The great stoic, Seneca, says that it is easy to guide a vessel on a smooth sea and aided by favourable winds, but that it is in the midst of tempests and hurricanes that the skill of the pilot is shown.*
So it is with the soul, whose fidelity and loyalty towards the Divine Lover is well tested by sufferings and sorrows.
The more he was crossed, the more he was upset, and, like the palm tree, the more violently the winds beat against him, the deeper and stronger roots he threw out. His own words express this truth so perfectly as to leave no doubt on the subject. He says:
For some time past the many secret contradictions and oppositions which have invaded my tranquil life have brought with them so calm and sweet a peace that nothing can be compared to it. Indeed, I cannot help thinking that they foretell the near approach of that entire union of my soul with God, which is not only the greatest but the sole ambition and passion of my heart.
Oh! blessed servant of Jesus Christ, how absolutely you practised that teaching which you impress so strongly on us in your Theotimus, in the words of blessed Brother Giles. “One to one! one soul to one only love! one heart to one only God!” To that only God, the King eternal, immortal, invisible, be honour and glory for ever and ever! Amen.