The Life of Blessed Francis - 557 

10 With the passing of time when the number of brothers had increased, the watchful shepherd began to summon them to a general chapter at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula to allot to each a portion of obedience in the land of their poverty, according tothe measuring cord of divine distribution. Although there was a complete lack of all necessities and sometimes the number of the brothers was more than five thousand, nevertheless with the assistance of divine mercy, they had adequate food, enjoyed physical health and overflowed with spiritual joy.

Because he could not be physically present at the provincial chapters, he was present in spirit through his solicitous care for governing, fervor of prayer, and effectiveness of blessing, although, he did sometimes appear visibly by God's wonderful power.

For the outstanding preacher, who is now a glorious confessor of Christ, Anthony, was preaching to the brothers at the chapter of Arles on the inscription on the cross: Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Jn 19:19 As he glanced at the door of the chapter, a brother of proven virtue, Monaldo by name, moved by a divine reminder, saw with his bodily eyes blessed Francis lifted up in the air with his arms extended as if on a cross, blessing the brothers. All the brothers felt themselves filled with a consolation of spirit, so great and so unusual, that it was certain to them that the Spirit was bearing witness to the true presence of the holy father among them. This was later confirmed not only by the evidence of signs, but also by the external testimony of the words of the holy father himself.

It must be clearly believed that the almighty power of God,
which allowed the holy bishop Ambrose
to attend the burial of the glorious Saint Martin
and to honor that holy prelate with his holy presence,a
also allowed his servant Francis to be present
at the preaching of his true herald Anthony,
in order to attest to the truth of his words,
especially those concerning Christ's cross,
of which he was both a carrier and a minister.

11 When the Order was already widely spread and Francis was considering having the rule which had been approved by Innocent

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Legenda Maior, Fontes Franciscani, p. 810-812


10 1Processu quoque temporis multiplicatis iam fratribus, coepit eos pastor sollicitus in loco Sanctae Mariae de Portiuncula ad generale capitulum convocare, ut in funiculo distributionis divinae in terra paupertatis eorum unicuique tribueret obedientiae portionem. Ubi, licet omnium necessariorum esset penuria, fratrumque multitudo ultra quinque milia conveniret aliquando, divina tamen opitulante clementia, et victus sufficientia suberat, et salus comitabatur corporea, et spiritualis iucunditas affluebat.

3Capitulis vero provincialibus, quia corporalem praesentiam exhibere non poterat, per sollicitam curam regiminis, instantiam precis et efficaciam benedictionis spiritu praesens erat, quamvis aliquando, mira Dei faciente virtute, visibiliter appareret.

4Dum enim egregius praedicator, qui et nunc Christi praeclarus confessor Antonius de titulo crucis: Iesus Nazarenus, rex Iudaeorum, in Arelatensi capitulo fratribus praedicaret, quidam frater probatae virtutis, Monaldus nomine, ad ostium capituli divina commonitione respiciens, vidit corporeis oculis beatum Franciscum in aëre sublevatum, extensis velut in cruce manibus, benedicentem fratres. 5Tanta vero et tam insolita fratres omnes consolatione spiritus repletos se fuisse senserunt, ut de vera sancti patris praesentia certum eis intra se Spiritus testimonium perhiberet, licet postmodum id non solum per evidentia signa, verum etiam per eiusdem sancti patris verba exteriore fuerit attestatione compertum.

- 6Credendum sane, quod omnipotens Dei virtus,
quae Ambrosium, sacrum antistitem,
tumulationi gloriosi concessit interesse Martini,
ut pium pontificem pio veneraretur officio,
7etiam servum suum Franciscum praedicationi praesentavit
veracis sui praeconis Antonii,
ut approbaret veritatis eloquia,
praecipue crucis Christi,
cuius erat et baiulus et minister.

11 1Cum autem, dilatato iam Ordine, vivendi formam per dominum Innocentium approbatam disponeret per successorem ipsius Honorium in perpetuum facere roborari,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 557

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