Finding Inspiration in the Writings of St. Francis


C. Friars’ Earlier Rule 1221



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C. Friars’ Earlier Rule 1221 (Omn.pp.27-53; FA1,p.63-86, FC.p.107-135) –

While never submitted to or approved by Rome, this rule gives a wealth of insights into the spirit and soul of St. Francis. We find here a man imbued with the Scriptures and the penitential life, a man of deep spiritual understanding, tremendously in love with his God. About one-third of it is devoted to prayers and exhortations and encouragements. Francis spent long hours composing this rule with the help of Friar Caesar of Speyer.


To reflect on this rule, you may find it helpful to break up this reading into sections, namely:

a) Prologue plus chapters 1 to 4 -

b) chapters 5 to 9

c) chapters 10 15

d) chapters 16 – missionary efforts

e) chapters 17 to 24 – primarily a collection of admonitions and prayers.


For reflecting on each of the above five sections:

Q1. List three positive ideas that struck you when you were reading this section.


Q2. List three things that are puzzling to you and you would like to know more about.
Q3. How do you find the following Franciscan traits emphasized here?

Penance/Conversion; Prayer; Poverty; Apostolic Concerns; and

Catholic Church & her sacramental life.
now go back to the next of five parts described above….
Now that you have taken the time to observe the several sections of this 1221 friar Rule, you might want to also deal with the following:
Qa. How did Francis deal with loyalty to the Pope and the Catholic Church?
Qb. The vows of chastity, poverty, obedience?
Qc. How would you describe Francis’ attitudes toward riches and the rich? –

- ownership, begging alms, money, travel (14), animals and horses (15), missionaries (16), preaching, virtuous life (17-21), must be Catholic (19)


Qd. Did Francis develop a band of beggars, since they are called “mendicants”?
Qe. What of community life: authority (5), care of sick(10),

community care(11)?


Qf. Can you find any expressions of Francis’ sense of appreciation of God’s goodness?



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