The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 212 

33 The bishop of Sabina, a far-sighted and discerning man, questioned him about many things, urging him to turn to the monastic or eremitical life. But Saint Francis, as much as he could, humbly refused his urging. He did not despise what was urged on him, but he was intently seeking other things, moved by a loftier desire. That lord marveled at his enthusiasm and, fearful that the holy man might fail in such a lofty proposal, he pointed out smoother paths. Finally, won over by his perseverance, the bishop agreed to his pleas and from then on strove to promote his interests before the lord pope.

Presiding over God's Church 1 Cor 1:2 at that time was the lord Pope Innocent the Third, a glorious man, prolific in learning, brilliant in speech, burning with zeal for justice in matters which the cause of the Christian faith demanded. When he recognized the wish of the men of God, he first considered the matter and then gave his assent to their request, something he completed by a subsequent action. Exhorting and then warning them about many things, he blessed Saint Francis and his brothers and said to them: "Go with the Lord, brothers, and as the Lord will see fit to inspire you, preach penance to all. When the almighty Lord increases you in numbers and grace, come back to me with joy, and I will grant you more things than these and, with greater confidence, I will entrust you with greater things."a

The Lord was truly with 1 Sm 3:19 Saint Francis
wherever he went, Gn 20:16
gladdening him with revelations and encouraging him with gifts.
For when he had gone to sleep one night,
he seemed to be walking down a road,
and alongside it stood a tree of great height.
That tree was lovely and strong,
thick and exceedingly high.
It came about that when he approached the tree
and stood under it and marveled at its beauty Jdt 10:14 and height,
the holy man himself rose to so great a height
that he touched the top of the tree.
Taking it into his hand, he easily bent it to the ground.
It really happened this way,
the lord Innocent,

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 306-307


331Verum quia homo erat providus et discretus, coepit eum de multis interrogare et, ut ad vitam monasticam seu eremiticam diverteret, suadebat. 2At sanctus Franciscus suasionem eius humiliter, prout poterat, recusabat, non persuasa despiciendo, sed alia pie affectando, altiore desiderio ferebatur. 3Mirabatur dominus ille fervorem ipsius, et timens ne a tanto proposito resiliret, ei planiora itinera ostendebat. 4Tandem eius constantiae victus precibus acquievit, et coram domino papa studuit eius negotia de caetero promovere.

5Praeerat tunc temporis Ecclesiae Dei dominus Innocentius papa tertius, vir gloriosus, doctrina quoque affluentissimus, sermone clarissimus, zelo iustitiae fervens in iis quae christianae fidei cultus causa poscebat. 6Hic cum virorum Dei votum agnovisset, discretione praevia, petitioni eorum assensum praebuit et effectu prosequente complevit, atque de plurimis exhortans et monens eos, benedixit sancto Francisco et fratribus eius, 7dixitque eis: « Ite cum Domino, fratres, et prout Dominus vobis inspirare dignabitur, omnibus poenitentiam praedicate. 8Cum enim omnipotens Dominus vos numero multiplicabit et gratia, ad me cum gaudio e referetis, et ego vobis his plura concedam et securius maiora committam ».

9Vere Dominus erat cum sancto Francisco
quocumque pergebat,
eum revelationibus laetificans et beneficiis exhortans.
10Nam cum nocte quadam se sopori dedisset,
visum est sibi per quamdam viam ambulare,
iuxta quam arbor magnae proceritatis stabat.
11Arbor illa pulchra et fortis,
grossa et alta nimis.
12Factum est autem dum appropinquaret ad eam,
et sub ea stans eius pulchritudinem et altitudinem miraretur,
subito ipse sanctus ad tantam devenit altitudinem,
ut cacumen arboris tangeret,
eamque manu capiens facillime inclinaret ad terras.
13Et revera sic actum est,
cum dominus Innocentius,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 212