The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 270 

to be the pastor of all His holy church Acts 5:11
and lifted up his head among the tribes of the people.


100 The blessed father Francis foretold this in words and foreshadowed it in action so that it would be recognized as inspired by God and done by the will of Christ Jesus. 2 Tm 3:16 It happened in this way. The Order and religion of the brothers had begun to spread by the grace of God. Like a cedar in the garden of God it lifted its crown of merit into the heavens, and like a chosen vineyard it stretched out its holy branches to the ends of the earth. Jer 2:21 a

At that time Saint Francis approached the lord Pope Honorius, who was then at the head of the Roman Church, humbly asking him to appoint the lord Hugolino, bishop of Ostia, as father and lord for him and his brothers. The lord Pope bowed to the holy man’s request, and kindly agreeing, entrusted to the bishop his authority over the Order of the brothers. Like a prudent and faithful servant set over the family of the Lord, the bishop accepted it reverently and devoutly. He strove in every way to administer the food of eternal life in due season to those entrusted to him. The holy father for this reason subjected himself to him in every way and venerated him with wonderful and reverent affection.

Blessed Francis was led by the Spirit of God with which he was filled. Mt 4:1 Acts 13:9 Therefore he saw long before what was later to appear in the sight of all. Is 52:10 For whenever he wanted to write to him, impelled by the needs of the Order they both served, or, more often, moved by the love of Christ which he felt so strongly toward him, he would never allow him to be called in his letters “Bishop of Ostia and Velletri” as others did in customary greetings. Instead, taking up the topic, he used to say; “To the Most Reverend Father, Lord Hugolino, Bishop of the Whole World.” 2 Cor 5:14

Often he would greet him with unheard-of blessings, and although he was a son in his loyal submission, he would sometimes console him with a fatherly word at the prompting of the Spirit so that he could strengthen him with the blessings of the fathers until the desire of the everlasting hills should come. Gn 49:26

101 That same lord also felt great love for the holy man and therefore was pleased with whatever the blessed man did or said, and was deeply moved at the mere sight of him. He swears that no matter how dis-

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 376-378


pastorem in universa Ecclesia sua sancta,
et exaltavit caput eius in tribubus populorum.

4Conformabat se dominus ille moribus fratrum, et in desiderio sanctitatis cum simplicibus erat simplex, cum humilibus erat humilis, cum pauperibus erat pauper.5Erat frater inter fratres, inter minores minimus, et velut unus caeterorum, in quantum licitum erat, in vita et moribus gerere se studebat .6Sollicitus erat ubique sacram religionem plantare, et in remotis partibus clara fama clarioris vitae ipsius ordinem plurimum ampliabat.

100 1Quod ut inspiratum divinitus et Christi Iesu voluntate operatum esse sciatur, longe ante beatus pater Franciscus hoc verbis praedixit et opere praesignavit.

2Nam cum ordo et religio fratrum, divina gratia faciente, satis iam inciperet dilatari, et velut cedrus in paradiso Dei, in caelestibus sanctorum attolleret verticem meritorum, et tamquam vinea electa sacros produceret palmites in latitudinem orbis terrae o, sanctus Franciscus accessit ad dominum papam Honorium, qui Romanae tunc praeerat Ecclesiae, supplici prece petens ab eo ut dominum Hugonem, episcopum Ostiensem, sui fratrumque suorum patrem et dominum ordinaret.3Annuit dominus papa precibus sancti, et benigne obtemperans, suam illi super ordinem fratrum contulit potestatem.4Quam ille reverenter et devote suscipiens, tamquam fidelis servus et prudens constitutus super familiam Domini, studebat modis omnibus cibum aeternae vitae sibi commissis ministrare in tempore opportuno.5Propterea sanctus pater modis omnibus se subiciebat ei et miro ac reverenti eum venerabatur affectu.

6Spiritu Dei ducebatur, quo repletus erat, et ideo longe ante intuebatur quod postmodum erat in oculis omnium sic futurum.7Nam quoties, familiaris religionis urgente causa vel potius charitate Christi qua erga ipsum flagrabat cogente, . scribere vellet ei, nequaquam acquiescebat ipsum in litteris suis vocari episcopum Ostiensem seu Velletrensem, sicut caeteri utebantur in salutationibus consuetis, sed, assumpta materia, sic aiebat: « Reverentissimo patri, sive domino Hugoni, totius mundi episcopo ».

8Saepe namque benedictionibus inauditis salutabat eum, et licet esset devota subiectione filius, dictante tamen Spiritu, quandoque ipsum paterno consolabatur colloquio,9ut confortaret super eum benedictiones patrum, donec veniret desiderium collium aeternorum.

101 1Nimio quoque amore dictus dominus erga sanctum virum flagrabat, et ideo quidquid beatus vir loquebatur, quidquid faciebat placebat ei, et in sola visione illius saepe totus afficiebatur.2Testatur ipse de eo, quod numquam in tanta esset perturbatione seu animi motu,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 270

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