The Kinship of Saint Francis - 699 

11 Or these doctors may be the four supreme pontiffs who primarily issued declarations on his Rule, that is, Gregory IX,a Innocent IV,b Nicholas III,c and Clement V.d Or were you to select from among the Brothers, you have four teachers who expounded very authentically on the Rule: in particular, Alexander of Hales and the others who expounded on it because of the decree of the minister.e And the fourth is Bonaventure who wrote that declaration Innominato magistro.f

12 The blessed father Francis was also conformed to Christ in naming subjects and prelates. For Christ sometimes called the apostles "brothers," as we read in the last chapter of Matthew: Go, announce to my brothers; and, at another time, called them "the least:" As long as you did it to one of the least of mine . . ." In the same way, Francis, joining the two, called those practitioners of his Rule "lesser brothers."

Because Christ also said Whoever is the greater among you, let him be your minister and whoever wanted to be first is to be the servant of all, [Francis] wanted the general to be called, and to be, "the minister and servant of all the brothers," and the others, who were practitioners, should also be called "ministers."g

As Christ even changed the names of his disciples, so too did [Francis] change the names of some of his disciples. He called Brother Leo "Pecorella [The Little Lamb]," another one "Mansueto [The Meek One]," another brother "John the Simple," another brother "Angelo," and another "Pacifico."h

13 A certain holy woman asked the Lord to reveal to her to what extent He accepted the Order of Saint Francis. The Lord replied that, in that Order, there were men who were more pleasing to God than all those on earth, and there were others who were more displeasing to Him than all others.i




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 699