The Book of Chronicles (Prologue and the First Tribulation) - 402 

43 Those ministers and custodians, as well as Brother Elias himself and his followers, to whom they gave incentives for disbelief, disrespect, and disobedience toward the founder, tried to approach the Lord Cardinala who, out of devotion, liked to be present at the General Chapter which was then held every year at Saint Mary of the Portiuncula, or "of the Angels." They cautiously suggested to him that Saint Francis, because of his great purity and innocence, was not concerned about discussing with the brothers and deciding matters that were necessary and appropriate for the religion. By himself he was not strong enough to satisfy or provide adequately for such a great multitude of brothers, especially since he was uneducated, compared to the many wise brothers, of great perfection in holiness, upright conduct, and learning who were under his governance. They would be able to direct him and help him with many things, as he was sick and physically weak. "You should exhort him, so that it will not seem that these words are coming from us: he should make decisions about the business of the religion with his brothers who are better prepared for such things. He should take advantage of their advice and assistance, for a firmer and more secure governance of the whole religion."

51 Their words pleased the Lord Cardinal and seemed reasonable and quite necessary. Since the Lord Cardinal used to confer with Francis frequently on spiritual matters, on one such occasion, the Cardinal in a friendly conversational tone congratulated him, saying: "You ought to be very happy and give great thanks to God, Brother Francis. God has expanded the religion and has given you many wise and holy brothers who should be capable of directing and governing not only the religion but even the whole Church. You must therefore be very grateful to God for this, and you should ask their advice and make use of the prudence and discernment of such great men for the good governance, preservation, and stability of the whole religion."

58 Through the Spirit of God Saint Francis understood both the weight of the cardinal's words and the source from which they sprang. He said to him: "Come, my Lord, and I will speak to the brothers in your presence."




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 402