A Collection of Sayings of the Companions of Blessed Francis - 124 

When Brother Elias, with those ministers, was near the place where blessed Francis was staying, he called him. Blessed Francis responded and, seeing those ministers, he said: "What do these brothers want?" "These are ministers," Brother Elias answered, "who heard that you are making a new rule. They fear that you are making it very harsh, and they say, and say publicly, that they refuse to be bound by it. Make it for yourself and not for them." Then blessed Francis turned his face to heaven and spoke to Christ in this way: "Lord! Didn't I tell you they wouldn't believe you?" The voice of Christ was then heard in the air, saying "Francis, nothing of yours is in the Rule: whatever is there is all mine. And I want the Rule observed in this way: to the letter, to the letter, to the letter, and without a gloss, without a gloss, without a gloss."a And He added: "I know how much human weakness is capable of, and how much I want to help them. Those who refuse to observe it should leave the Order." Then blessed Francis turned to the brothers and said: "Did you hear? Did you hear? Do you want me to have you told again?" Then the ministers, confused and blaming themselves, departed.

4When blessed Francis was at the general chapter called the "Chapter of Mats," held at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, there were five thousand brothers present. Many wise and learned brothers told the Lord Cardinal, who later became Pope Gregory, who was present at the chapter, that he should persuade blessed Francis to follow the advice of those same wise brothers and allow himself to be guided by them for the time being. They cited the Rule of blessed Benedict, blessed Augustine, and blessed Bernard, which teach how to live in such order in such a way.b Then blessed Francis, on hearing the cardinal's advice about this, took him by the hand and led him to the brothers assembled in chapter, and spoke to the brothers in this way: "My brothers! My brothers! God has called me by the way of simplicity, and showed me the way of simplicity. I do not want you to mention to me any rule, whether of Saint Augustine, or of Saint Bernard, or of Saint Benedict.c And the Lord told me what He wanted: He wanted me to be a new fool in the world. God did not wish to lead us by any way other than this knowledge, but God will confound you by




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 124