The Kinship of Saint Francis - 713 

Pope Honorius the Third confirmed with a seal. Before it received the seal, many things were being taken from that Rule by the ministers contrary to the intention of blessed Francis.

27b After the second rule which blessed Francis wrote had been lost, he went up a mountain with Brother Leo of Assisi and Brother Bonizo of Bologna to make another rule,a which he had written at Christ's instruction.

A group of many ministers came to Brother Elias, who was the vicar of the blessed Francis. "We heard that Brother Francis is making a new rule," they told him, "and we fear that he will make it so harsh that we will not be able to observe it. We want you to go to him and tell him that we refuse to be bound by that rule. Let him make it for himself and not for us."

Brother Elias replied to them that he did not want to go because he feared the rebuke of blessed Francis. When they insisted that he go, he said that he refused to go without them; so they all went together.

When Brother Elias and the ministers were near the place where blessed Francis was staying, he called him. Blessed Francis responded, and seeing the ministers, he said: "What do these brothers want?" "These are ministers," Brother Elias answered, "who heard that you are making a new rule. They fear that you are making it very harsh, and they say—and say publicly—that they refuse to be bound by it. Make it for yourself and not for them."

Then blessed Francis turned his face toward heaven and spoke to Christ in this way: "Lord! Didn't I tell you, they wouldn't believe me?" The voice of Christ was then heard in the air, saying, "Francis, nothing of yours is in the Rule: whatever is there is mine. And I want the Rule observed in this way: to the letter, to the letter, to the letter, and without gloss, without gloss, without gloss."b And He added: "I know how much human weakness is capable of, and how much I want to help them. Therefore, those who refuse to observe it should leave the Order." Then blessed Francis turned to the brothers and said: "Did you hear? Did you hear? Do you want me to have you told again?" Confused and terrified, the ministers departed.c




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 713