General Introduction - 17 

tensified ideological division among the brothers.27 Then, as Thomas of Celano was sifting through the material entrusted to him, Innocent IV sent to Crescentius the second papal interpretation of Francis's Rule, Ordinem vestrum. It was dated November 14, 1245.28 In addition to declaring that all the property of the Order belonged to the Holy See, the office of proctor was established, that is, a representative of the pope who was responsible for what technically did not belong to the Order. It is easy to understand why many interpreted this as a legal ruse enabling the Lesser Brothers to avoid the mind of Francis. As Iriarte expresses it: "All the efforts of the official side of the Order were directed toward making evangelical poverty a matter of distinguishing between possession and use; the important thing was not so much to be 'poor' and 'lesser' as to be able to claim absence of ownership of any communal poverty."29 That, in addition to his interpretation of poverty, the pope also included in Ordinem vestrum other directives aimed at furthering apostolic work and studies only exacerbated the tensions.30

Thomas of Celano must have found himself in a quandary. Aware of the tensions within the Order, he was now witnessing new tensions between the Order and the pope. In light of the papal interpretation of Francis's Rule,how was Thomas of Celano to present the views of Francis as his companions remembered him? Was he to empathize with those who favored the moderation encouraged by the papal directive, or with those who were pressing for a return to the pristine life of the Francis and his first brothers?

Thomas of Celano entitled his third composition, The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul. In many ways it is a work far different from his first portrait of Francis. Unlike his earlier Life of Saint Francis, Thomas'sRemembrance of the Desire of a Soul avoids any extensive description of Francis's relationship with the pope. He focuses instead on the recollections of Saint Francis that had been sent to him. The influence of The Legend of the Three Companions is easily recognizable in details about Francis's youth and conversion, as is The Anonymous of Perugia in descriptions of the call of his first followers and their embrace of a Gospel life. The bulk of the work, however, is dedicated to Francis's pursuit of virtue. Here, too, Thomas relies on the reminiscences of the companions. Thus Thomas remained true to the mandate he had received from Crescentius: to re- present the responses to his directive. At the same time, Thomas appealed to the idealism of the brothers by placing Francis before them as "the holiest mirror of the holiness of the Lord."31 But, in the same symbolic language, Thomas turned their attention to the reality of the little church of Our Lady of the Portiuncula where Francis had discovered his Gospel calling. "He wanted it," Thomas wrote, "like a mirror of the Order, always preserved in humility and highest poverty, and therefore kept its ownership in the hands of others, keeping for himself and his brothers only the use of it." It would be difficult not to recognize the distinction between "ownership" and "use." Adroitly Thomas directed the attention of his brothers to a higher plane, but he also challenged the Church to recognize in the Portiuncula's "humility and highest poverty" its own calling.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 17