The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 476 

blessed Francis and his brothers and whom Saint Francis predicted would become Pope, and that is what happened. Since the Court of Ostia of the Lord Pope was then at Perugia, the Cardinal made a point of coming to Assisi. He came every day to see and hear Saint Francis and the brothers, and every time he sang Mass, he also preached a sermon to them.

3 And when the cardinal came to visit that sacred assembly, he would see them in the field in troops of sixty, of a hundred and of three hundred sitting there in conversation about God, in prayer and tears, and in the works of charity, in such silence that there was no noise or din there. Marveling at such a multitude like an orderly line of troops, he said with tears and great devotion: "These are truly the troops of God!" For no one among them dared to tell tall tales or jokes, but wherever they gathered, they either prayed or wept or spoke about the salvation of the soul. There in the field they had separate shelters by troop, made of reeds all around and on top. For this reason, this was called the Field of Reeds. Their beds were the bare ground or a little straw. For their pillows they used stones or pieces of wood. Because of this everyone had such devotion for them that many from the nearby court flocked there: counts and barons, dukes and knights, even cardinals in person with bishops and clerics, nobles and commoners; all came to see such a holy and humble gathering that the world had never seen one like it. They came also to see that very holy man Francis, their head, who had snatched such a beautiful prey from the world and was directing such a devout flock to the blessed pasture of Christ.

9 After all had gathered, Francis, that holy shepherd and venerable leader, rose up and in the fervor of the Holy Spirit proclaimed the word of life to that blessed flock in a loud voice like a trumpet, which divine anointing poured into him. This is the theme he announced: "Great things have we promised; greater things are promised us; let us observe the former, and yearn for the latter; pleasure is short, punishment is eternal; suffering is slight, glory infinite."a He preached very devoutly on this theme, exhorting all to obedience to Holy Mother Church, to the gentleness of brotherly charity, to prayer for all the holy people of God, to patience in adversity, to purity and angelic chastity, to peace and harmony with God and people, to humility and meekness with everyone, to contempt of the world and a fervent zeal for evangelical poverty; to concern and vigilance for prayer and divine praises, to the casting of all care and concern of soul




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 476