The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 592 

into the Order, was greatly preoccupied and in serious doubt about what he ought to do: whether to dedicate himself solely to prayer, or sometimes to preach; and he greatly desired to know the will of God about this. Since the holy humility in him did not allow him to rely on himself or his own prayers, he decided to seek the divine will with the prayers of others. So he called Brother Masseo and said to him: "Go to Sister Clare and tell her for me that she, with some of her more spiritual companions, should devoutly pray to God that He be pleased to show me what is better: to dedicate myself to preaching or only to prayer. Then go to Brother Sylvester and tell him the same." Now in the world this man had been Sir Sylvester, the one who had seen coming out of the mouth of Saint Francis a golden cross as tall as the sky and as wide as the ends of the earth. And this Brother Sylvester was a man of so much devotion and holiness that whatever he asked and begged of God was granted, and he often spoke with God; and therefore Saint Francis had great devotion toward him.

Brother Masseo went and, following the command of Saint Francis, delivered the message first to Saint Clare, then to Brother Sylvester. And he, as soon as he received the message, knelt down in prayer, and as he prayed he received God's answer. He turned to Brother Masseo and said, "God says this: tell Brother Francis that God did not call him to this state only for himself, but to bear fruit, the fruit of souls, that through him many may be saved." On receiving this response, Brother Masseo returned to Saint Clare to learn what she had received from God. And she replied that she and the other companions had received from God the same response that Brother Sylvester had received.

At that Brother Masseo returned to Saint Francis, and Saint Francis received him with the greatest charity, washing his feet and preparing him something to eat. After the meal, Saint Francis called Brother Masseo into the forest and there knelt down in front of him and pulled back his capuche, making a cross with his arms, and asked him, "What does my Lord Jesus Christ command me to do?" Brother Masseo replied, "Christ answered both Brother Sylvester and Sister Clare with the sisters, and revealed that it is His will that you go through the world to preach, because He has not chosen you only for yourself, but rather for the salvation of others." Then Saint Francis, having heard this answer and knowing Christ's will by it, got up with great fervor and said, "Let's go, in the name of God." And he took as companions Brother Masseo and Brother Angelo, both holy men.

And setting out with an eager spirit, without considering road or path, they came to a village called Cannara. And Saint Francis began




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 592