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 The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 630 

sins you will be an apostate from the Order and will die outside the Order, and God also revealed to me that you are damned." When Brother Elias heard this, he said: "My revered Father, I beg you, for the love of Christ, that because of this you do not avoid me nor drive me away from you, but like a good shepherd, following the example of Christ, that you find and pick up the sheep that will perish if you do not help him; and pray to God for me that, if it is possible, He revoke the sentence of my damnation, because we find it written that God can change the sentence if the sinner turns from his sin; and I have such faith in your prayers that, if I were in the middle of hell and you prayed to God for me, I would feel some relief. Therefore, once again I beg you that you recommend me, a sinner, to God, who came to save sinners, that He may receive me into His mercy." And Brother Elias said this with great devotion and tears; because of which Saint Francis, like a merciful father, promised him that he would pray to God for him, and so he did.

As he was praying to God very devoutly for him he understood by revelation that God had granted his prayer in regard to the sentence of damnation for Brother Elias, that at the end his soul would not be damned, but that he certainly would leave the Order and would die outside the Order. And so it happened: because, when Frederick, King of Sicily, rebelled against the Church and was excommunicated by the pope, along with anyone who gave him help or advice, the same Brother Elias, who was considered one of the wisest men of the world, at the request of the same King Frederick, joined him and became a rebel against the Church and an apostate from the Order; for which he was excommunicated by the pope and deprived of the habit of Saint Francis.

While he was still excommunicated, he became seriously ill; and hearing of the illness, a brother of his who was a lay brother, and who had remained in the Order and was a man of good and worthy life, went to visit him, and among other things said to him: "My dearest brother, it hurts me greatly that you are excommunicated, and outside your Order, and will die like this; but if you can see a way or manner by which I can save you from this danger, I would willing undertake any hardship for you." Brother Elias answered: "My brother, I see no other way except if you go to the pope and beg him, for the love of God and of Saint Francis his servant, because of whose teachings I abandoned the world, to absolve me from his excommunication and restore to me the habit of the Religion." His brother said that he would gladly wear himself out for the sake of his salvation; and on leaving him, he went to the feet of the holy pope, begging him humbly to pardon his brother for the love of Christ and of Saint

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 630

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