The Tree of the Crucified Life of Jesus Book Five (Excerpts) - 196 

the disciples an evangelical way of living, that is that they should not have gold or silver, a wallet or purse, or two tunics, walking stick, or shoes. For, with the unending fervor of his heart, Francis placed all his eagerness into fulfilling all that he had heard, and he transformed his uprightness into an apostolic rule. And, in the Gospel, Christ did not impose on the apostles anything except what he said to everyone, that they should take up the cross. Therefore Francis formed his habit according to the teaching of the Crucified in the form of a cross, that a crucified mind might fight under a crucified tunic.

17The Rule developed further when, inspired by the Holy Spirit, Francis opened the book of the Gospel. He opened it three times and came upon: perfect expropriation and the perfect abnegation of self, crucifixion of the life of the flesh, and the perfect following of Jesus. The holy man said: "This is our life and rule, and that of all who wish to join our company." The same Chapter Three of the Legend contains a further development, supporting our purpose. It tells how Francis, Christ's holy servant, wrote for himself and his brothers a form of life in simple words, in which he placed observance of the holy Gospel as its unshakable foundation. He inserted a few other things which seemed necessary for a uniform way of life. And it tells that he asked the Pope to confirm for him the full observance of the Gospel as the Rule.

31The Legend shows fearful objections, based on the arduous novelty of such a state, and lack of earlier experience in the Church with temporalities. In the same place it shows the enlightened intervention of the venerable man, the Lord John of Saint Paul, Bishop of Sabina, when he said, "when this poor man asks to be allowed to lead the Gospel life" etc. The Legend also shows the contents of that form [of life] as it was then composed. I read that text and had it in my hand when I wrote these things: it contains a multitude of Gospel counsels, and it was twice or three times as long, though it had no more in content than this sacred Rule which we now have, which was written afterward through the Holy Spirit, witnessed by divine testimony given from heaven, and confirmed with papal protection. The final, confirmed form of that same Rule has a reduced number of words, witnessed by heaven and confirmed by the Pope.

46To the first point, Chapter Four of the Legend says: after the great growth of the Order, and shortly before he received the sacred stigmata, Francis was warned by a revelation from God. In a vision he saw crumbs of bread, which he made into a host. And some received worthily, and some refused and were struck with leprosy. Francis did not understand, and while he kept vigil in prayer, he heard a voice from heaven saying: "Francis, the crumbs of last night are the




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 196