The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus Book Five (Excerpts) - 195 

Chapter Five


443b27Jesus, the perfection of our whole created world, established in His own life, and in that of His Mother most amiable, the gospel life in all its fullness, as though upon the holy mountains Ps 87:1 [Vulgate, Ps 86:1] and on unshakable foundation. While the virgin born of that virgin with her most holy motherhood in extreme poverty, in the most profound humility He was humbled, obedient to the law and to His eternal Father, even to the hard offering of the cross in a perfect act of virtue and an enduring contemplation of the divine. In an inseparable bond they lived, loving their enemies, laying down and offering their entire life in death for the salvation of their enemies alone. For He had no friend except the one whom He met out of love for His enemy.

Hence the Rule of gospel living is founded in Christ Jesus and in His most holy mother and, by analogy, Christ passed this on, His own perfection, to the Apostles with the command that they observe it. For these reasons, it is not alone an evangelical Rule, having been established in and by Christ, but also an apostolic Rule, for it was laid down for the Apostles by Christ Jesus, and they kept it till their deaths. It was not passed on by them to the Church, however, as we have pointed out already, and it was unknown in the Church when the blessed Jesus began to renew it in Francis. That this was so can be clearly seen in what the Legend's Third Chapter tells us of Francis's petitioning the lord Pope to confirm his gospel life. To some of the cardinals it seemed novel, something arduous and beyond human powers. Which, of course, is nonsense; this would be to revile the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is, therefore, obvious that Jesus made Francis the foundation of the evangelic and apostolic Rule in the Church, as far as its restoration was concerned.

443a1That this might be what He imposed more widely is clear from the first motive, from the development in between, and from the conformity to the end, and by an observing deed and by explaining his intention.

4For his motive was listening to the Gospel of the sending out of the apostles; when it was said that they were sent to preach, He gave




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 195