St. Francis was walking the empty streets early in the morning before it was light. He was praying but suddenly he heard a cough. There was a dark man in front of him. St. Francis looked at him and noticed the signs of leprosy on his body. There was a purple lesion above his lip. The man was sick. Initially, St. Francis felt fear and a desire to run away – but this was replaced by his desire to help the people of that town. He could not think of anything else to do but to take his wallet from his back pocket and give the man the wad of mainly ones that he had on him.
The man took the money, and shivered. He kept shivering and shivering. He was very thin and very cold. St Francis could see that he had not really met the man’s fundamental need. “What can I do now?”, he asked the Holy Spirit. Then Francis took off his jacket and gave it to the cold man.
Then St. Francis noticed the man’s eyes. They still cried out in need. They were watery with mucus. St. Francis still had not met the man’s most fundamental need. Again he asked the Holy Spirit – “I have overcome my initial fright. I have given this man all my cash. I gave him my jacket on this cool morning, what more can I give him?”
At this point St. Francis kissed the leper on the lips. Suddenly, St. Francis noticed the leper was not there! He looked in all directions. The leper had vanished.
It was later when he realized that he had been visited by Christ in a vision.