‘You possess a great treasure, and the devil knows its value. It is well worth the trouble he will have in taking it from you. Very often it is only the affair of a moment.’
‘Do you not know that he who would attain holiness brings upon himself violent struggles and temptations? And, in the midst of these furious assault loosed upon you, you say: “But I never used to be tempted like this!” True; in those days the devil had no fear of you. So do not be frightened at seeing your temptations increased when you are more fervent in God’s service.’
‘Then let us be pure; Jesus Christ wills it. Let us labor to make our heavenly garment ever whiter and whiter.’
‘Let us become pure, and let delicacy, that fair flower of faith and love, grow in our heart. . . He loves pure hearts; His delight is to be among the lilies; and the secret of His royal favor is purity of heart guarded with fidelity.’
St. Peter Julian Eymard
St Francis, being one day in prayer in the Convent of the Portiuncula, saw, by the revelation of God, that all the convent was surrounded and besieged by devils, as by a great army; but none could penetrate into the convent, because the brothers were so holy that the demons could not enter into any of them. They remained, however, on the watch, until one day a certain brother being offended by another, thought in his heart how he could accuse and do him harm. Having yielded to this evil thought, the devil, seeing a way open to him, entered the convent and took possession of the brother. On this St Francis, like a vigilant pastor, ever watching over his flock, seeing the brother, and commanded him to confess immediately the hatred he had nourished in his heart towards his neighbour, which had caused him to fall into the power of the enemy. The brother, much alarmed, and seeing that his saintly father had penetrated into his deepest thoughts, confessed the evil feeling which had entered into his heart, and humbly asked pardon and penance. When he had done this, and being absolved of his sin had accepted his penance, St Francis beheld the devil to flee away; and the brother, being freed from such a cruel monster through the charity of his good shepherd, thanked God, and returned to the little flock of the saintly pastor corrected and strengthened, and lived afterwards in great sanctity.
- The Little Flowers of St. Francis, ch. 23