Francis Friars Saint Francis The Rule Video

Francis Meets Innocent III

“In our obsession of original sin, we too often forget original innocence.”

During 1209 Francis composed his first Rule that he and the Friars should follow. As a group of twelve the early friars travelled from Assisi to Rome during 1209 or 1210 seeking an audience with Pope Innocent III in the hope that he would approve their way of life.  This first rule consisting of Gospel verses, often referred to as the “Regula Primitiva” or “Primitive Rule”, received verbal approval but not the official seal of the Pope. The  action of Innocent III gave recognition to the Lesser Brothers as a proper order of the Church and granted them licence to preach and celebrate Mass in church, as sign of this the Order of Friars were tonsured and Francis ordained as a Deacon.

What was different about the Rule Francis had composed was that it was a mendicant rule, a rule of mobile itinerant preachers who where not confined to monastery cloisters.  Francis’ group of Lesser Brothers lived life in the world, they were of the world, where life happened.

Thomas Celano tells us his biography The First Life of Francis :  “When [The Pope] 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.1

Thomas Celano then explains: “And so [Francis] went out more confidently into the world to do the work of the gospel; using flattering words with no one, he rejected fancy speeches, yet even the most learned men were amazed at the prudence of his replies. Following the gospel, he joined his brothers two by two and sent them out into the whole world. He called them the Lesser Brothers so that they would mark the profession of their name chiefly with the virtue of humility.2

1The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano – FA:ED – Vol 1 The Saint – Page 212
2The Legend for Use in the Choir – FA:ED – Vol 1 The Saint – Page 320-321

Video Source: Vimeo
Copyright to this film is with Paramount Pictures. It appears on Vimeo because of the educational provision outlined in section 107 of copyright law.

Elizabeth is a member of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. She has had an interest in Franciscan Spirituality for over 20 years.