The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 469 

got an answer from the Lord similar in every way to Brother Sylvester's answer.

10 So Brother Masseo returned to Saint Francis. The saint received him with charity, washing his feet and preparing a meal. When the food had been eaten, he called Brother Masseo into the woods, and, baring his head, crossing his hands and kneeling he asked: "What does our Lord Jesus Christ wish me to do?" Brother Masseo answered that the blessed Christ's answer to Brother Sylvester and to Sister Clare and her companion was the same: "He wants you to go out preaching, because God did not call you only for yourself, but also for the salvation of others." Then the hand of the Lord came over Ez 1:3 Saint Francis. In a fervor of spirit he rose up completely on fire with the power of the Most High, and said: "In the name of the Lord, let's go!"

14 He took Brother Masseo and Brother Angelo as his companions, both holy men. He went like a thunderbolt driven in spirit, paying no attention to road or path, until they came to a town called Cannara. There he preached with such fervor, and by a miracle swallows kept silent at his command, so all the people of Cannara, men and women, wanted to leave the town and follow him. However, Saint Francis said to them: "Don't be hasty! I will arrange what you should do for your salvation." From that time on he thought about making a Third Order for the salvation of everyone everywhere.

17 He sent them away greatly consoled and ready for penance, then he left from there and went from Cannara and Bevagna. As he passed through that territory with his companions along the road he saw some trees in which perched such a great flock of different kinds of birds that a similar gathering had never before been seen in those parts. And in the field near those trees there was another great flock of different birds. As Saint Francis looked with amazement at this huge flock, the Spirit of God came over him and he said to the companions: "Wait for me here on the road. I will go and preach to my sisters, the little birds." He went into the field toward the birds resting on the ground. As soon as he began to preach, all the birds in the trees came down to him and together with the others in the field remained motionless, even though Saint Francis touched many of them with his tunic as he walked among them. None of them moved at all, as that holy man, Brother James of Massa reported. He heard all of this from the very mouth of Brother Masseo who was one of the holy father's companions when that miracle happened. Saint Francis said to the birds: "Birds, my sisters, you owe God a great deal. You ought to praise Him always and everywhere for the freedom you have to fly everywhere, for the double and triple garment you have,




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 469