The Kinship of Saint Francis - 709 

sources, blessed Francis called upon Christ in prayer and consulted Him about this. Christ immediately responded to him, saying: "I will take away everything held individually or in common. I will always be ready to provide this for this family, no matter how much it might grow, and I will always cherish it as long as it will put its hope in me."

23b Therefore no one should be surprised that the Supreme Pontiffs, in commenting on that passage in the Rule "The brothers may not make anything their own . . ." said: This should be understood either individually or in common. For Gregory the Ninth, who said this first, was speaking according to blessed Francis's intention, which he knew well, since he was very close to him.a The intention of blessed Francis, then, was that the brothers possess nothing individually or in common, and that they only have in common use of a few books and other necessary things. And, therefore, he did not want that frequently spoken-of novice to have his own use of a psalter.


24 When blessed Francis was at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula for the general chapter known as the Chapter of Mats because the only dwellings there were made of rush-mats, there were five thousand brothers present. Many wise and learned brothers went to the Lord of Ostia, who was at that time the Protector of the Order and had come then to the Chapter.

24b For blessed Francis had petitioned him to be present in whatever year there was a General Chapter. And he agreed and came each year; as long as the Curia was in Perugia, he would come. And all the brothers gathered at the chapter went personally to meet him. As they were coming, he would dismount from his horse and go on foot with the brothers to the church because of the devotion he had for them. Afterward he would preach to them and celebrate Mass during which blessed Francis would chant the Gospel.

24c During that chapter, many distinguished and learned brothers of the Order, therefore, came to the Protector, saying: "Would you please tell Brother Francis to follow the advice of the wise brothers and allow himself to be guided by them?" They cited the Rule of blessed Benedict, blessed Augustine, and blessed Bernard, which teach how to live in such and such an Order in such a way.b




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 709