In the apparitions he witnessed, little Francisco only saw the Angel and Our Lady, without hearing what they were saying. And this was enough to develop his vocation and his specific role in all the apparitions.

With his gaze completely centred on the light of what he could see, he was enchanted by the beauty of God and Our Lady. Later, helped by his cousin’s and sister’s explanations of the Angel’s and Our Lady’s words, he would enter into the experience of the mystery of God: “We were on fire, in that light which is God, and we didn’t burn. What God is like! You can’t tell! That’s what the mind can never say” (MIL, 145).

And although he never found the right words to say God, he was perhaps the one who most understood and penetrated his mystery. In fact, Francis allowed himself to be invaded so intensely by God that, immersing himself in this divine presence in an attitude of adoration, he found in God the meaning and beauty of his life and learnt perfect praise (cf. Mt 21:16).

Based on his experience of God’s compassionate love for all human beings and realising that humanity often chooses paths far from God, Francis had an intense desire to respond to God’s love by consoling the One he called the Hidden Jesus. The testimony that has come down to us tells us that he “only wanted to console him” (MIL 145), which points us to the intense contemplative prayer of this child, whose central concern was to live intimately in a relationship of friendship with God.

This friendship is nourished by the silence of the Serra d’Aire, which led Francisco to “think about God”, about “how beautiful he was” and “how sad he was”, about how he wanted to give him joy; it is nourished by the countless hours of Eucharistic adoration in the corner of the parish church, in front of the tabernacle, learning from Jesus how to live life as a gift; it is renewed in the prayer of the rosary, which he prayed a lot, welcoming himself into his mother’s lap, allowing himself to be transformed into the image of her heart centred on her Son, Jesus. In the simplicity of this silent surrender, the story of Francis’ contemplative gaze full of love is told, and of the touch with which the mystery of God converts his life into light for others.