The Life of Saint Francis by Julian of Speyer - 383 

Chapter IV

HOW HE RECEIVED A RULE AND PERMISSION TO PREACH FROM THE POPE, WAS REFRESHED IN SOLITUDE, DETERMINED TO BE PERPETUALLY POOR AND TO HELP HIS NEIGHBORS, AND HOW HE GUARDED HIMSELF AND HIS OWN BROTHERS WITH STRICT VIGILANCE.

21Seeing that the number of brothers was gradually increasing, Blessed Francis explained more fully to them his heart’s purpose, not to mention the hidden design of divine revelation. He wrote a rule in simple language, including words from the holy gospel, for the perfection of which he strove as much as he could. He wanted what he had written to be confirmed by the supreme pontiff, so he took the eleven brothers that he had with him, Mt 12:45 himself being the twelfth, and made his way with them to Rome.a When he arrived, he went to one of the cardinal bishops, an esteemed and discreet man, and explained fully and in an orderly manner the cause of his coming to Rome. The cardinal carefully heard the business of the poor man of Christ and, even though he justly commended the plan as praiseworthy, he nonetheless first suggested to Francis that he enter the eremitical or monastic life. But the servant of Christ stuck firmly to what he had begun and, as modestly as he could, refused to agree to suggestions of this sort. But, with the Lord’s cooperation Mt 12:45 he persisted until, thanks to the arrangements of the same bishop, the matter came to the hearing of the supreme pontiff.

Divine Providence was with the blessed man in everything he was doing, and its clear revelations and visions made him confident. At that time he saw a vision that promised the Lord Pope’s assent to his plan: a mighty tree, wondrously tall, Dn 4:7 whose top he easily bent down to the earth with his hands.b Later on, when the most excellent and magnanimous Lord Pope Innocent III, who was then ruling the church, deigned

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Iuliani de Spira Officium Sancti Francisci, Fontes Franciscani, p.


Caput IV

Qualiter a Papa regulam et praedicandi auctoritatem accepit; in solitudine refectus est; perpetuo pauper esse et proximis proficere statuit; et quam districta se et suos vigilantia custodivit.

21 1Cernens igitur beatus Franciscus passim accrescere numerum fratrum, plenius illis exposuit cordis sui propositum, necnon et divinae revelationis arcanum. 2Brevi ergo regulam sermone conscripsit, interpositis in illa sacris Evangelii verbis, ad cuius perfectionem, quantum poterat, anhelavit. 3Desiderans autem quae scripserat summo Pontifice confirmari, undecim quos habuit secum fratres assumpsit a et. Romam cum illis duodecimus ipse perrexit. 4Quo perveniens, ad quemdam ex episcopis cardinalibus, virum probatum et discretum, accessit, eique per ordinem adventus sui causam plenius explanavit. 5Qui, diligenter audito pauperum Christi negotio, etsi propositum tam laudabile non immerito commendaret, in primis tamen illi suggessit, ut ad vitam eremiticam sive monasticam se transferret. 6Sed famuli Christi constantia coepto perseveranter insistens, persuasiones huiusmodi quanto poterat humilius non admisit. 7Qui et usque adeo tandem Domino cooperante praevaluit, donec, eodem episcopo fideliter procurante, ad summi Pontificis audientiam res pervenit.

8Concomitabatur quoque beatum virum divina providentia in omnibus quae agebat, et securum per crebras revelationes visionesque reddebat. 9Vidit etiam tunc temporis visionem, suo domini Papae consensum proposito pollicentem: quamdam videlicet arborem magnam miraeque proceritatis, cuius ipse cacumen manibus leviter ad terram usque deflexit. 10Quod utique rei exitus evidenter postmodum comprobavit, dum se ad condescendendum viro pauperi vir excellentissimus et magnanimus, dominus videlicet Innocentius papa tertius, qui tunc Ecclesiae praeerat, inclinavit.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 383

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