Rorate Caeli

Cor ad cor loquitur

Saint Louis, King of France, went on a pilgrimage to visit the sanctuaries in the world. And having heard of the fame of the sanctity of Brother Giles, who was one of the first companions of Saint Francis, he determined in his heart to go and visit him in person; for which object he set out for Perugia, where the said brother then lived. He arrived at the convent-gate as if he had been a poor unknown pilgrim, and asked with great importunity for Brother Giles, without telling the porter who it was who wished to see him; and the porter went to Brother Giles, and told him there was a pilgrim at the gate who asked for him. But the Lord having revealed to Brother Giles that the pilgrim was the King of France, he left his cell in haste, and ran to the gate without asking any questions. They both knelt down and embraced each other with great reverence and many outward signs of love and charity, as if a long friendship had existed between them, though they had never met before in their lives. Neither of them spoke a word; and after remaining clasped in each other's arms for some time, they separated in silence, Saint Louis to continue his journey, and Brother Giles to return to his cell. 

As the king departed, a certain friar inquired of one of those who accompanied him who it was that had embraced Brother Giles, and he answered that it was Louis, King of France; and when the other brothers heard this, they were all sorrowful because Brother Giles had not spoken to him; and giving vent to their grief, they said: "O Brother Giles, why hast thou been so uncivil as not to say a word to so holy a king, who has come from France to see thee, and hear from thee some good words?" Brother Giles answered: "Beloved brothers, be not surprised at this, that neither could I say a word to him nor he to me; for no sooner had we embraced each other than the light of divine wisdom revealed his heart to me, and mine to him; and by a divine operation we saw into each other's hearts, and knew far better what we had to say than if we had explained in words that which we felt in our hearts. For so imperfectly the tongue of man reveals the secret mysteries of God, that words would have been to us rather a hindrance than a consolation. Know, then, that the king went away from me well satisfied, and greatly comforted in mind."

Fioretti of Saint Francis


  1. Francis10:56 AM

    Deo Gratias.

  2. Happy Feast Day to all my brothers and sisters in the Third Order Secular of St. Francis all over the world!

  3. Johannes de Silentio1:32 PM

    I have always been moved by Saint Louis' letter to his son as well.

  4. NIANTIC2:00 PM

    Beautiful story! Sometimes we talk too much. Sometimes we should let our hearts do the talking. Pax Christi to all.

  5. Oh wow, I get it now!!! THAT is what ++Dolan is expecting to happen with Obama! Looks like he knows what he's doing, after all...

  6. Don M2:45 PM

    I love this Holy Saint, Louis IX
    I have a painting of him as a Franciscan late in life kneeling in Franciscan robes recieving the Crown of Thorns from the hand of God. The painting was a proposal for a stained glass window, so there is much imagery around him. His Royal Robes are draped over a stand His Crown is laid to the side.A ship for the crusades in the upper corner etc.
    Love this Saint

  7. What a treasure is sacred silence. This is one of the reasons since chidhood that I love the Low Mass when I can get to it as it has such profound moments when we can hear Our Blessed Lord speaking to us clearly. It is even better when we have a priest who says The Holy Mass Low form with serenity.

    There is a fascinatingly beautiful painting by Caravaggio of St Francis meditating the Holy Cross beneath him. This has always personally represented a poignant recall to silence in prayer - to be able to hear what The Blessed Lord is saying to us in that moment. Franciscan spirituality has immense depth and it was clearly a gift King Louis experienced in his great life.

  8. @ Tom. I cannot see into your soul, but, if your first response to a charming little story about two holy men is to snark about Cardinal Dolan, then perhaps a break from the internet is in order. Just a suggestion.

  9. Tom

    You have a point - Dolan and many bishops also need to learn this important lesson about sacred silence. They would certainly rediscover it in The Latin Mass of All Times (ad orientam).


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