The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 553 


1 While Brother Francis and Brother Elias were members of the family in a certain little place, it was revealed to Saint Francis that Brother Elias was damned and was to apostasize from the Order and die outside the Order. For this reason Saint Francis conceived such dislike for him that he refused to speak with him or stay with him. And if Brother Elias happened to come toward him, he would head in the opposite direction. Brother Elias noticed that Saint Francis had conceived some dislike for him, so one day he joined Saint Francis and, restraining him from fleeing with courteous force, he asked him insistently to be pleased to state the reason for which he kept fleeing his company and conversation. Saint Francis said to him: "Because it was revealed to me by the Lord that you're damned!" Brother Elias responded: "Reverend Father, I beg you for the love of Jesus Christ that you do not throw me away because of this but, like a good shepherd, after the example of Christ, seek out your sheep which is perishing; and pour out for me your holy prayers to the Lord that, if it is possible, He revoke my sentence of damnation. For it is written that God can change a sentence if a man makes amends for the crime. I have such faith in your prayers that, even if I were lying in hell, I would trust that you were praying for me and would feel some relief. So I beg you again that you commend me, a sinner, to the Lord, that He may kindly receive me to His mercy." And Brother Elias said this with great devotion and many tears.

6 And Saint Francis, moved by fatherly piety and heartfelt compassion, committed himself to pray for him. And as he poured out prayers for him, he knew that he had been heard by the Lord in regard to revoking the sentence, that is, that he would not be damned at the end, though he certainly would apostasize from the Order and finish his life outside the Order.

7 And so it happened. When Frederick, King of Sicily, rebelled against the Church and the pope excommunicated him for that reason, along with all those who gave him help or advice, Brother Elias, who was considered one of the wisest men of the world, was called by that king. And by going to him, he became a rebel to the Church and an apostate from the Order. Because of this he was excommunicated by the pope and deprived of the habit of his religion.b




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 553