Miscellaneous Franciscan Sources - 799 

then do you have the audacity to tread on those crosses?" Saint Francis replied, "You should know that along with our Lord, two thieves were also crucified. We possess the cross of our God and Savior Jesus Christ, and that cross we adore and surround with total devotion. So, while that true cross of God has been entrusted to us, you have been left with the crosses of the thieves. That is why I did not fear to walk on the signs of the thieves. For among you there is nothing of the sacred cross of the Savior."

99 The Sultan also posed another question to Francis: "Your God teaches in the Gospel that you should not render evil for evil, that you should not refuse anyone who wants to take your cloak, and so on. So how much more should you Christians not invade our land!" Saint Francis replied: "It seems that you haven't read the whole Gospel of our Lord Christ. For he says in another place, If your eye is an occasion of scandal, pluck it out, and cast it away. With this he wanted to teach us that even if a man should be a friend or a relative, perhaps as dear to us as the eye of our head, we should not hesitate to break off relations with him, to destroy, or even eradicate him, if he should try to separate us from our faith and our love for God. It is for this reason that Christians have acted justly when they invade your land and fight against you, because you blaspheme the name of Christ and you have tried to keep people from worshipping him. But if you wish to recognize, confess, and adore the Creator and Redeemer of the world, we would love you as ourselves."

And all the Sultan's attendants were amazed at Francis's answers.a

110 Brother John, a man of great holiness who was the special companion and confessor of Brother Giles until the latter's death, used to recount this story.b He heard it from Brother Giles himself, who was the fourth brother to enter the Order. Brother Giles said: "When there were only seven of us brothers in the Order—no more than that—the blessed father Francis gathered us together one day at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula in the woods that used to come right up to the place. And there, celebrating the first council meeting or holding the first chapter, as it were, he spoke thus: 'I know, my dearest brothers, that the Lord has called us not only for our own salvation. Therefore, I want us to scatter among the nations, going about




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 799