The Book of Chronicles (Prologue and the First Tribulation) - 398 

381 Because of this he wanted them all to have the Rule, all to know it and, what is more, they were to die with it. Mindful of this admonition, that holy lesser brother who always carried a breastplate next to his flesh, in the end was sentenced to death by the Saracens for preaching and constantly confessing the faith. Taking the Rule which he always carried with him, he raised his eyes and his hands with the Rule to heaven, saying: "Into your hands, Lord Jesus Christ, I commend my spirit. And if, human as I am, I have in any way sinned against this Rule, may You, lover of all, graciously forgive me." After these words he was beheaded and passed to Christ with the palm of martyrdom.

388 Blessed Francis called this Rule the tree of life, the fruit of wisdom, the fountain of paradise, the ark of salvation, the ladder ascending into heaven, the pact of the eternal covenant, the Gospel of the kingdom, and the brief word which the Lord made on earth with His disciples. He taught the brothers that through the Rule they would find true rest for their souls and bodies, and experience the blessed sweetness of the easy and light burden and yoke of Christ, the weight that bears them up to heaven.

391 In this way he had already organized and fully formed the brothers, assuring and strengthening them to the best of his ability by holy words and example to revere and observe purely and faithfully the life they professed. Then, on fire with the seraphic love which carried him into Christ, and to put words into action, he longed to offer himself to God as a living sacrifice through the fire of martyrdom. Three times he started out on journeys to the lands of unbelievers. But in order to test more fully the fire of his fervor, twice he was prevented by divine intervention.

395 The third time, however, by Christ's design, he was led to the Sultan of Babylon after suffering many insults, chains, beatings, and hardships. Standing in the presence of the Sultan, he was entirely aglow with the fire of the Holy Spirit. He preached to him Christ Jesus and the faith of the Gospel with such force, such lively and moving words, that the Sultan and the bystanders were amazed. By the power of the words which Christ spoke through him the Sultan, moved to gentleness, willingly listened to his words against the decree of his own wicked law, and insistently invited him to arrange to stay in his land. He ordered that Francis and all his brothers were to be able have access to the Sepulcher freely, without paying tribute.a




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 398