The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 597 

your body to Him, since He has a special care for you." They all received this command with joyful hearts and glad faces. And when Saint Francis finished the sermon, they all hurried to prayer.

Saint Dominic, who was present for all these things, was greatly surprised by the command of Saint Francis, and considered it lacking in discernment, being unable to imagine how such a great multitude could be governed without any care or concern for the things necessary for the body. But the principal shepherd, the blessed Christ, wishing to show His care for His sheep, and love for His poor ones, immediately inspired the people of Perugia, Spoleto and Foligno, Spello and Assisi and the surrounding areas, to bring food and drink to that holy gathering. There quickly came from those places men with donkeys, horses, and carts loaded with bread and wine, beans and cheese, and other good things to eat, according to what was needed by the poor of Christ. Moreover, they brought tablecloths, pots, dishes, cups and other utensils that could be used by such a multitude. People considered themselves blessed if they could bring more things, or could serve more attentively, so that even the knights, barons and other noblemen who came to see them, served them with great humility and devotion. For this reason Saint Dominic, on seeing these things, truly understood that Divine Providence was at work among them, and humbly recognized that he had falsely judged Saint Francis as lacking discernment in his command. Kneeling before Saint Francis, he humbly confessed his fault, and added: "God truly takes special care of these holy little poor men and I did not know it. From now on I promise to observe holy and evangelical poverty, and on behalf of God I curse all the brothers of my Order who presume to have something of their own in the Order." Thus Saint Dominic was very edified by the faith of the most holy Saint Francis and by the obedience and poverty of such a large and orderly assembly, by Divine Providence and by the overflowing abundance of every good thing.

During that same Chapter Saint Francis was told that many brothers were wearing harnesses and iron rings next to their skin, which caused many to become sick and then to die, and many to be impeded in their prayers. Therefore, Saint Francis as a most discerning father, commanded under holy obedience that whoever had a harness or iron rings to bring them and put them in front of him. And so they did. And there were counted as many as five hundred iron harnesses and even more iron rings for arms and waists, so many that they made a huge pile, and Saint Francis made them leave them all there.

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 597

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