The beginning of the 13th century was a time of turmoil.
Emperor clashed with pope, prince with king... and burgher with nobleman.
In this era appeared a man... who brought a message of love and peace... that still lives in the hearts of men.
This man was... Francis Bernardone of Assisi.
"By decree of Pope Innocent III...
"the town of Assisi shall enlist all men and means of war...
"in the holy cause of liberating Sicily for King Frederick.
"All able-bodied men are summoned... to enroll under the flag of Duke Walter of Brienne. '"
Clare, come away. It's not dignified to hang out the window.
Don't let that fly-by-night see you.
It's a surprise to see him in the daytime.
You've heard, haven't you? Everyone has.
This is the chance I've been waiting for.
And for once you have your father's warmest approval.
Good morning, Mother.
Have you decided to go?
You knew that if the chance came my way I was going to take it.
Now, don't worry, Mother. I'll come out of it with honor. I assure you.
Honor. Where does one find honor in war?
Now, don't be foolish. The boy will rise high.
He could become a count, even a duke.
You know I always had other hopes for him.
I want him to be a child of God.
Can't he be a count and a child of God too? Be sensible, woman.
Try to understand, Mother. I have to leave home sometime.
Well, at any rate, you know you have my permission and my blessing, my son.
Good day, sir.
Are you Pietro Bernardone? I am. May I help you, sir?
I hope so. I'm Count Paolo de Vandria.
Oh, I'm honored. Come in. Come in.
Please. Thank you.
I'm en route from Florence to reclaim my states in Sicily... and I find it quite necessary to make certain arrangements.
When I first came to Assisi... you were pointed out as a man not adverse to lending money... and I wish to borrow some.
I'm a silk merchant, not a money lender.
I have a castle and lands in Sicily. Here are the documents.
I need a small sum of money for a horse and armor... so that I can return and claim what is mine.
To lend money on a captured castle... would not be a loan, but charity.
These are hard times.
I regret it, but we cannot do business.
Well, I see that I've made a mistake.
I've heard of you as a man of some means and some quality.
But I see I was wrong.
Oh, well. There are others.
Count de Vandria.
I couldn't help overhearing your request of my father. This is my son, Francis.
There are other ways for a knight to earn armor.
Not by any code of honor that you or your clothier father would understand.
I am, sir, familiar with all the codes of knightly honor, but this is a simpler matter.
Assisi is sending an army to Sicily.
If you would join it, you would have horse, armor and all by tomorrow at the latest.
My son is enlisting with the Duke de Brienne. Well...
I'd offer to drink a bottle to your success, but, uh...
Well, I've spent my last florin yesterday.
Oh, then you must be hungry.
Sir, in what campaigns have you fought?
Many. And in many places.
Three years ago in Perugia for this city's sake.
Then Assisi will be glad to have you on its side. Join us.
If war is your vocation, you might teach me valor, my father courtesy.
Pax et bonum. A gift in the name of God.
A gift. Oh, it's you again.
Out. Oh, Father, he...
If he had his way, the beggars of Assisi would all be rich.
Get away from my store. Move on.
They go everywhere like flies.
I'm sorry. Have you decided?
Well, if your son fights as well as he talks... he may be of a help in winning back my land.
Then you'll go with him? Wonderful.
This calls for wine, food. Mother, a guest.
It looks as if I've found a new comrade-in-arms.
Yes. Yes. It seems so.
You act like a nobleman's son, not the son of a merchant.
Now, this expedition, when does it set out?
Tomorrow, in the morning. But right now you eat. This way.
What's the matter, Paolo? You lost your nerve? Go ahead.
You missed. Between the fingers, but no blood.
I'll give you one more chance. Francis, don't let him do it.
There's nothing to be afraid of... not for you anyway.
I thought you learned this trick from the Saracens.
I hope there aren't too many four-fingered Saracens.
I won't look. I don't intend to let you.
You lose. And I'll keep my promise because you dared to try.
But, Francis, I want to stay yours.
Anna Lucia, you must lose your honor in honoring my promise.
Who says she has any honor to lose?
Oh, you're crazy... both of you.
Your hand. There is blood on it.
It's only a scratch. Don't faint on me.
Let me help you. Francis, it's your turn with the dice.
I'll come in if you'll double the stakes. Double? All right.
Take it. The number is six. I'll bet 20.
Here. A toast.
Take it. It's all yours. Let's get out of here. What's wrong, Francis?
Let's do something more exciting. I'm leaving. You coming, Paolo?
What? And leave my winnings? [Laughs]
Ahhh! Let's drink to love's victory.
Pax et bonum. Peace, and God with you.
This is the second time. Why do you follow me?
I want a gift from you.
I don't want your money.
What, then? What do you want? A gift from your heart.
Love for those who have no love.
Peace for those who have no peace.
Pax et bonum.
My friend, we must change armor, you and I.
Here. Take mine. I haven't earned it yet.
What? You're a knight, Count de Vandria.
I only hope to become one. Well, what is this?
Please. Accept this from Assisi.
But your armor's worth a great deal.
If it weren't, I wouldn't offer it to you.
You're either a fool, Bernardone... or more noble than nobility. Let me help you.
Perhaps the town will be able to sleep tonight with your Francis gone.
I know. I know. I apologize for his behavior, Canon.
I don't doubt that you've done your very best, Donna Pica... but, uh, Pietro here spoils him with too much money.
Give him time. He will change. Why should he change?
It's a hard world. If a man doesn't have spirit when he's young, he'll never get on.
Ah, there he is.
That's not the armor I bought him.
Come. The lady is the Donna Clare Scefi.
May God answer, Francis, and bring you safely home.
May I present my comrade-in-arms, Paolo de Vandria?
The lady Clare Scefi.
We have met. in a dungeon. In Florence?
In a dungeon? It's true, Aunt Buona.
I went there with the Sisters of Mercy to take food to the prisoners.
You brought more than food.
I hope that I may survive these wars to return and thank you properly.
It would be an honor. It would be a comfort... to know that you kept your eye on Francis... for he so often dares so much, and he is new to battle.
This is your great opportunity, Francis. Make the most of it. I will.
I'll be by his side.
I pray that God will also be at his side.
Francis, you're falling behind. Come on.
What's wrong? Are you ill?
No, l... I don't think so.
Did you hear something? What?
No, nothing out of the ordinary.
Now, don't start imagining your battles before they're here.
We've got a long way to go.
Francis... put away the sword.
Turn back. You will be told what to do.
Who is it? It's Francis.
What's happened to you?
Is the war lost? Are they all back?
No, only me. We had the enemy in retreat, but, uh...
Were you wounded? No.
Francis, you didn't desert?
I have deserted... but not just this battle.
Thank God you're back. He's not wounded?
Wounded? I wish to God he were dead rather than this.
Why? My son, why? What is it?
Tell her why. Tell me why. Why did you come back?
I had no choice.
I heard a voice that said to... A voice.
The voice that every coward hears..."Run."
What was this voice, Francis? And where?
By the brook, on the bridge.
I believed it then to be God's voice, Mother.
Oh, he's mad. He's blessed. It has always been so.
Yes, blessed with money, blessed with clothes... blessed with every freedom under the sun... but cursed with the worst thing of all: cowardice.
God favors him with this anguish, and you mock at him.
And it won't stop at me. You'll hear voices all right... the loud, angry voices of everyone in this town.
I tell you I had no fear.
I tell you I heard a voice. Don't defy your father, Francis. He means well.
Mother, l... I'm not mad? I'm not ill, am I?
And I will be told what to do? To what I am called?
No, no. The gendarme.
Francis Bernardone, you're under arrest... charged with desertion.
Welcome back to Assisi. It's a pleasure to receive you in our house.
My stay is bound to be a short one, though, sir. We've suffered heavy losses.
I must recruit more men and return.
Wait till you see him. He's the handsomest man I ever saw.
Welcome to our home, Count de Vandria.
It was a promise... should I survive, I would return.
I accept the tribute, for I heard you fought so courageously... it's a miracle you survived. A certain amount of good fortune too.
And the armor I wore... It was a gift from Francis Bernardone.
We do not speak of him here. Such cowardice brings shame to our city.
It wasn't a simple act of cowardice.
When we first encountered the enemy, he fought very bravely until...
Until he deserted. And why? I wish I knew.
Because he loves his life and pleasures more than manly valor.
My father is a hard and unforgiving man where Francis is concerned.
It is well known I've never liked Bernardone's son.
And I do not appreciate your visiting him in that infernal place.
Perhaps the Count de Vandria would not be here... had I not also visited him in just such an infernal place.
And what you call cowardice in Francis, I know to be the courage of conviction. The...
I'm sorry, Papa. Oh...
May I show Count Paolo about?
Of course, child. Of course.
What a wonderful couple they'd make.
And I intend that they shall.
I still carry the pendant you gave me the day we left the city.
I believe it too protected me.
Certainly it made me valorous.
I am pleased for your sake that you have won such honors.
For your sake, I would attempt anything.
Then you tempt me to ask a difficult favor. Ask.
If I am to win honor in men's eyes, let me first win it in yours.
For the past three months, Francis Bernardone has borne his imprisonment... as nobly as you bear your honors now.
That may well be.
You know I admire you, and I respect you... but you'd rise in my esteem if you'd show me one greater quality.
What quality is that? Mercy.
I am informed that as knight commander... you now hold the king's power of pardon for all prisoners.
For a deserter?
For the grace in you of being merciful.
Count Paolo de Vandria.
By the power vested in me by King Frederick...
I hereby grant clemency to all prisoners.
Those wishing to join his new armies will be paid for their time spent in the dungeon.
Report to the armory.
Now to rest and grow strong.
Even the doctor thought I would die, didn't he?
And Father too. Well, they were both wrong.
Thank God we were not.
Father's ordered some new clothes for you.
I've put them there... to raise your spirits in dreaming of the day when you'll walk out in them.
Oh, I made a mistake. I was too severe with him. I know that now.
It's only because he means so much to me.
To both of us.
Now we must forget, and others must be made to forget what he did.
We all make mistakes.
What a lavish feast, Bernardone.
Well, I spared no expense. I'm glad to see you do know how to spend money.
I'm afraid I don't understand. Small price to pay if it brings your son back into favor.
One must forgive and forget.
Besides, I hear that he has come to his senses since he was so ill.
Look for yourself.
Francis, you don't seem very happy.
I'm happy so long as I'm dancing with you.
I'm sorry, Clare. I haven't been very good company.
Here, Francis. Have a drink with me. It'll warm you up.
No, Father. Thank you.
Francis, I must know what's troubling you, or I shall have no peace.
Pax et bonum. I... I'm troubled by the... the emptiness, the affectation of all this.
But you've always been so happy.
I'm happy now with you.
But I know that there must be something more.
I... I've yet to know what it is, but I must. I will.
I'm almost afraid to, but I do understand.
But please, Francis, in finding peace, don't lose joy.
It's so much a part of you.
Now smile. For the sake of your guests, my host.
For this is a costly feast, and at least we can pay back your father with smiles.
Donna Clare. Paolo, I'm glad you've come.
I've wanted to thank you for obtaining my release.
Lady Clare, you promised me this dance.
It wasn't really me who got you out of prison.
No, I know, it was Clare.
But still, l... I thank you for the gesture.
Do you love her? I've always loved her.
But I cease to be any man's rival.
I can't make any sense out of what you do or what you say.
You're not alone. That first day in your father's shop...
I felt I had met and made a friend.
And later, when we first encountered the enemy...
I knew I had found a comrade-in-arms.
Those were my sentiments too.
You sound like a man standing on the gallows waiting for the trap to spring.
I am waiting, but not for death.
For what then? More voices?
A voice which promised that I would be told what to do.
But there's been only silence... tormenting silence.
Francis, forget these morbid dreams.
You have the makings of greatness in you. Even I am not blind to that.
But where is the greatness in misery?
Bear with me, Paolo.
Did you speak? What?
Where did Francis go? He didn't say.
Even if he had, I probably wouldn't have understood him.
When we danced, it was like dancing with a ghost.
No one must worry, not even I.
He lives in another world.
But you and your father live in the same one, so I think we should leave.
Don't take me home.
Tell me about... about anything, but... please don't take me home. I'll tell you a tale.
Perhaps it's a bit early to tell it to you, but my time is limited.
Is it an old tale? In a way.
There once was a lost knight... who wandered into a strange town called Assisi.
He came with two hungers: One for food and the other for revenge.
And when he left, he had two high hopes:
One that he'd found a new comrade-in-arms... and the other that he'd found favor with...
Well, it's at this point my story rather breaks down... for I think the lady in question is laughing at me.
I'm not laughing at you, Paolo.
No, Paolo, please. This was no ghost who kissed you.
Are you in love with Francis?
Be honest with me.
I... I'm not in love the way you're in love with me.
Dear God, it is love. I...
Paolo, please take me home.
Well, good morning, son.
I'm riding to Rieti to see about a stock of linen. I'll be back in less than a week.
Are you ill again? No. No, Mother.
Father, I must tell you something... I think I can see what it is.
You're really in love at last. Well, there's nothing wrong in that, my boy.
Come on. Tell us now. Who is she? There's no one. No, Father.
You're very good to me, and that makes it very difficult for me to... disappoint you, but, you see...
I can never be a merchant.
When I was a young man, Francis, I had moments of confusion too.
Moments of elation. Oh, yes.
But in time I learned I had to make my way with this.
If you have this, then sooner or later, the world comes to your door.
You can have all the pleasures that money can buy... and I could not when I was young and free.
Pietro, this is not a matter of money.
He's sure that his voice is the voice of God.
Damn your mysticism, woman. Will you take my part one day?
Look, my son... when you wanted to go out into the world to fight, I stood by you.
Stand by me now. Just this once. Give me a chance to save you.
You'll be destroyed. Don't let me stand by idle, helpless, pained... while I watch you simply burn away in the fires of superstition.
Boy, this could bring madness. Trust me.
You will be a merchant. Yes, and a good one too.
In a week.
Forgive me, Mother.
You bring brightness into our house, my son, but the world needs you.
Go your way.
Bless you, my son.
I beg you, my Lord. Let me hear you.
Give me true faith... firm hope... and show me your way.
What do you want me to do, my Lord?
Do you not see, my son, that the church has fallen down?
Build up my house again.
Who'll give me stones?
Francis, take these. The church of San Damiano needs stones.
Give me stones for the house of God.
Give me stones for the house of God.
What's all the shouting about?
It's your old friend Francis. He must be going mad.
His madness is working miracles at the church of San Damiano.
You've been there? Well, my duties take me everywhere.
I have to know what's happening to report to the bishop.
Yes, the church wall is almost finished. What?
Um... Why doesn't he beg for food or money?
It takes stones to build a church.
Please give me stones.
Wait, Francis. Francis.
It seems to be infectious.
Other people are helping him.
A shoemaker, a field-worker, a tailor.
We could learn from him about putting ideals into practice.
We take our spiritual heritage too much for granted. Surely not you, Canon.
It has to be rebuilt occasionally.
But can you watch him unperturbed?
Something great moves in that little man.
Francis, do you have room for another section of wall?
I hope to exchange this load of stones for a few old sins.
You can't buy your way into the Lord's favor, Bernard... but certainly I'll always be grateful.
Ah, careful. You're soiling your clothes. Ah, never mind my clothes.
Would you come this way, please? Through here.
Bernard of Quintavalle... how can you, one of the wealthiest and most respected men of Assisi... support this folly? My support is limited to a few stones, mortar, nails.
It won't make me poor.
Yet last night when I asked you to contribute to the king's treasury, you refused.
Because I find greater wisdom in Francis's renunciation of wealth... than in your king's greed for it.
I've come to say good-bye.
Thank you, Paolo.
Well, I trust this mortar will steel my hand.
I'm sorry. You can't shield them when you work with stones.
This is peasants' work. You're wasting your life.
No, the Lord commanded me to rebuild his church.
Perhaps he did, but not with stone... with weapons, as you were trained to do.
How do you know the Lord didn't mean for you to take your sword and armor... and go forth to fight against his enemies?
If he'd wanted me to shed blood, he would have told me.
Well, let us not say good-bye in anger.
When next you pray to your Lord, ask for his blessing... for on my return, I will marry Lady Clare.
Has she agreed? I have her father's consent.
And Clare's? That will come in time.
Now, Francis... in my absence, you can do me a favor... now that you are no man's rival.
Yes? You know what my life as a soldier has been.
Well, Clare has changed all that.
You might not believe it, but I love her... very dearly.
Talk to her and tell her that I have changed.
We have... We have talked about you, Paolo.
Oh? She admires you. She respects you.
But you will only hurt yourself if you expect marriage.
She isn't destined to be the lady to grace any castle.
Yes. Better to grovel in the gutter with a beggar, huh?
No, she's dedicated to God. She's told me so.
And who has told her? You?
All these years you have hovered near her like some black shadow over her life.
Of course you've talked about me. You with your holy lies and holy voices... sickening obsession with poverty.
What have you told her, huh? To reject a man's love, for she might find happiness with it?
I would not deny her any true joy.
But it is for God to say where that may lie, not you.
Fanatical hypocrite. You disgust me!
We were just about out of supplies, Bernard.
There's more where these came from.
You can have as much as you need. Just ask.
I ask for nothing.
But the Lord asks for your heart.
I am one of you.
Well, Brothers, thanks to your willing hands and hearts... this church will very soon be complete.
Then what shall we do after that?
Patience, Giles. We shall be told. But, Francis... must we not look a little ahead... to what our rule should be?
Let us ask God to be our guide.
"If thou wilt be perfect...
"go sell what thou hast and give to the poor... and follow me."
"Take nothing for your journey...
"neither staff, nor wallet... nor bread, nor money."
"If any man will come after me...
"let him deny himself... and take up his cross and follow me. '"
These three verses will be our guide.
They will be our life... and our rule, Brothers.
To the glory of God. Amen.
Francis, we have come to join you.
My name is Juniper.
Both of you?
You are welcome, Juniper. Most welcome.
But don't you think Brother Lamb would be happier with his mother?
Juniper, meet your brothers.
This is Bernard, who was once a rich merchant.
And Giles, who left his farms.
Vigilanzio, a cobbler.
And Phillip, our scholar.
Both formerly consecrated knights.
Sylvester of the church of San Rufino.
And Morico, our nobleman.
We are very happy to have you with us.
Good morning, Canon.
I must speak to you.
You seem troubled, Canon. And I am troubled.
My heart is drawn to you, but...
Francis, I've just talked with the bishop. He's troubled too.
Are you trying to establish a religious order here with your handful of dreamers?
Brothers, this concerns us all.
It is true that we are only 11 at the moment... but soon, pray God, we'll be many more.
It's not the number. But don't you know that church law... expressly forbids you to establish a new religious order?
Unless, of course, you have the permission of the pope.
Well, then, let's ask the pope.
Yes, we'll go to Rome. If we must ask, we must ask.
Are you thinking the Holy Father might not concern himself with an order of only 11?
At this moment, Brother, I am thinking that perhaps there are 12 of us.
If you'll accept me.
Good morning. Complaining on a fine morning like this?
Why? You have wings to race across a blue sky... a beak for seed and water... green trees for nests... even a voice for song.
So, sing your love to the Creator and thank him for your blessings.
They're showing us the way to Rome.
Wait for me here, Brothers, until I've spoken with the Holy Father... and pray that we may succeed.
Oh, it looks impossible, Francis. You need a special permit to get in.
Have faith, Brother Cattanei.
How do we know what is impossible until we try?
Let us pray, Brothers.
I'm trying to find His Holiness.
Who let you in? Who are you?
Eleven brothers and I have come from Assisi to submit our rule.
We are new to the procedure.
A new order?
This is most unusual.
And at the moment, out of the question.
If you would please take me to the Holy Father, I know he would hear what I have to say.
I wish I could help you, but the Holy Father's occupied with the gravest problems.
With the church threatened from all sides... how can he find time to discuss the wishes of 11 friars?
Twelve, Your Eminence.
Your pass. You must have safe-conduct.
Uh, no. No, l... I have none.
I know that face. What did he want?
Your sanction for his rule. A new order.
Knowing you would not approve, I have sent him away.
I've seen his face somewhere.
Are you certain that I have not seen you before?
I am, Your Holiness. Hmm. Tell us about your order.
There are 12 of us from Assisi.
What we request by this simple rule... is permission to live our lives in humility in the manner of the Gospels.
Yes, we have read and discussed your rule... and, uh, we've decided that... the life you and your brothers want to lead is too severe... too ambitiously severe.
But you must understand, Francis, your own devotion is not in doubt.
But in establishing an order... one must also think of those who come after.
They may not be as strong as you.
In fact, they're not likely to be.
Your strict adherence to absolute poverty is unrealistic.
To maintain an order requires property... and this allows for none.
It is God's will that I have none.
If we have property, we shall need arms to defend it.
No, from property comes strife.
Ah, the church does not sanction extremes of any kind.
Uh, perhaps if you could relax your rule a little.
Your Holiness, our Lord lived in extremity... and so I believe he demands me to do.
How can I bargain with my belief?
We all have to make concessions, Francis.
In this world, we have to be reasonable or fail.
I cannot defy the guidance of God.
What, do you dare to defy this council... and me?
I... I have no choice.
In that case, my son, your request has been denied.
But all we ask is to be allowed to live our lives in the manner of the Gospels.
It is not I who request that we should live so.
It is laid down in God's word.
Your Holiness, Your Eminences... if we say that such a way of life is impossible... we declare that the Gospel cannot be followed.
And so commit ourselves to blasphemy.
I have seen you before... but in a dream.
In a dream where our beloved basilica was falling down... and a little monk stepped out from nowhere dressed like you.
And with his hands outstretched like that... he upheld the building.
Within my soul I rejoiced, and I awoke.
This could be so.
A voice told me to rebuild the Lord's house. I...
I thought I had to work with stone and mortar, but perhaps I was wrong.
Was I wrong?
Perhaps you were.
But we need more than stones and places for prayer.
The heretics in France. The emperor will not be stopped with bricks and mortar.
Neither will Christendom collapse.
I believed my dream. And I believe yours too.
Uh, but you must not think that men can suddenly be made perfect by a rule.
Oh, no, we are very imperfect and the poorest of men... but we did walk to Rome and would not go home the poorer for it.
Th-They are here? The 11? Yes.
Then I would like to see them. Your Holiness.
These are my followers. My brothers, Your Holiness.
Are you certain that God and men will continue to assist you?
Are you, my son?
I trust in the Lord.
Go then, Francis. Your request is granted.
And may the devotion of you and your followers strengthen the whole church.
And when the Lord increases the number of your flock... uh, come back to me... and i will entrust you then with greater tasks.
And let your order be an example to all of us.
Here, Francis. This is all I've got to give you. No, no. Please keep it.
Thank you. Thank you.
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May he show his face to you and have mercy on you.
May he turn his countenance to you... and give you peace.
You've been so generous to let us cut these branches from your trees.
You've worked as hard as any brother.
I've been jealous of your brothers... working with you to restore San Damiano, Sant' Angelo, San Pietro.
If the brotherhood keeps growing so, you'll be able to restore all the churches in Italy.
You certainly have proved to everyone that God is on your side.
Have I won you to my side?
I have always been there.
I'm looking forward to hearing you on Palm Sunday.
Thank you. And thank your father for these olive branches too.
Good-bye, Francis. Good-bye, Clare.
All right. We're ready.
Until now, we've been like skylarks all in one field.
But soon, Brothers, you'll be leaving for faraway places.
You, Zachary, for Spain...
John to Germany, Otto will be carrying our love into Morocco.
Father, will you grant me permission to go with John?
I can say ja. It means "yes" in German.
And I say no. It means that you're better skylarking at home.
Paolo, you... you shouldn't have.
A token of my admiration.
You make it very difficult for me to thank you.
Why should it be so difficult to thank me?
Clare, why have I seen you only three times in the last two weeks and never alone?
Sometimes it's better to stay away than to hear what is hurtful.
Why should I hurt you? I worship you.
Every time you insult and belittle Francis, you hurt me.
Can you honestly see what's so wonderful and spiritual... about throwing away one's possessions to the poor?
Can you? Can you imagine our Lord Jesus Christ... living as a wealthy man on Earth?
With all due respect to his sanctity, Francis is not Christ on Earth.
I'll be late for prayer. I'm sorry I said that.
May I escort you?
My father would miss your company.
Your father has given me permission to escort you all the way to the altar.
If you hate love, you hate life... and if you do, your eyes don't say so.
Please, Paolo. Please, give me time to consider.
We haven't got the time. I'm off to the Crusades... and who knows when or if I'll return.
I'll pray for your safe return. Let the priests pray. You can do much better than that.
You can make it possible so that nothing on Earth will stand in my way of coming back to you.
Paolo, don't you understand?
It is nothing on Earth that stands in the way.
Don't talk like that. Don't speak like that.
It's not you. It's Francis speaking through you.
He's a disease. He wants to change you. I don't. I want you as you are because I love you.
It's you I love, Clare.
If you ask for love, then you must believe in it.
I was not called to preach, but to do.
So, let the olive branch preach peace for me.
It is by far the better preacher.
Lord, give me the voice of thy people in prayer.
Lord, make me the instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master... grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled... as to console... to be understood as to understand... to be loved as to love... for it is in giving that we receive... it is in pardoning that we are pardoned... and it is in dying that we are born... to eternal life.
Praise ye, the Lord.
Help me in this hour of need, O Lord.
Help me to know thy will.
Accept my humble sacrifice.
Help me in my decision to be thy servant, O God.
Do you know what you're asking?
By your example, I have been called.
All my life I have longed to find... to what I could give my whole devotion.
Love has been a confused thing in me... until I saw your love of all life... and all God's creatures.
I wish to be devoted to that love.
Do you know what that means?
Can you follow the way of humility and poverty? Can you, Clare?
Your path will be spread with thorns.
Where is Clare? She excused herself some time ago.
She should be here with her guests.
It's not like Clare to show this lack of courtesy.
She spends a lot of time in prayer now, doesn't she?
All sensitive young souls go through this phase.
No, there's nothing the matter with Clare that a happy marriage will not cure.
We sail from Venice a week from today.
I hope the marriage contracts aren't delayed.
It's already drawn up. Now let me ask Aunt Buona to fetch the girl... while we talk of the dowry.
Your father will kill me when he finds out.
No one will harm you.
Is there any doubt in your heart?
I've asked the Mother Superior of the Benedictine Sisters... to help you take your vows.
Aunt Buona, tell Papa of my decision.
God help me.
What do you ask?
I ask to be accepted as a bride of the Lord in the monastic life.
Will you be able to observe the rule and the way of living it dictates... and take the three vows of obedience, poverty and chastity?
With the help of God, I hope to.
Say after me: I renounce the world and all its vanities.
I renounce the world and all its vanities.
I am thy daughter, O Lord.
I ask to be worthy of thy commandments.
I offer thee, O Lord, my renunciation.
You erase from within me every trace of vanity.
I had a voice.
I will have it now only for prayer.
I had a heart.
I will have it now only to throb at thy teachings.
Where is my daughter? You have no right in here.
This is the house of God.
Clare, where are you? What is this? What are you doing?
Clare, you're coming with me.
I cannot come with you, nor with my father.
This is no triumph for you. It is tragedy for her!
Mine is not the triumph, Paolo.
A curse on all your saints!
You don't know what you're doing.
Look, Francis, they're here. The children are here.
Good morning. Good morning, Father Francis.
Well, good morning, Brother Calf.
Good morning, Sister Pig.
Good morning, Brother Duck. You're just in time.
I want to thank you for asking me to bless your animals.
I've looked forward to this day.
You know, the animals of the Earth... are among God's very special creatures.
They help us work, they carry us... guard our homes at night.
And best of all, they bring us joy and laughter.
You must never forget to laugh... even when you become a grown-up child like me.
Well, now I must bless them and return to my work.
Lord, we ask thy blessings for these animals... and for their young masters.
Good-bye, children, and thank you for coming.
Bye, Father. Good-bye.
Good morning. Thank you.
Help her. Help her, for the love of God.
Here you are.
For you. Thank you.
God give you faith and hope.
God give you peace, dear brother.
Peace? We lepers have nothing but stink and decay.
I'll pray for you. I don't need prayer.
I need to get rid of my stink!
Where are you taking me? To wash you.
To wash you clean.
Why are they tearing up the flowers? They must clear this plot.
The order was given by Brother Elias, your vicar. What reason did he give?
The colony is growing and needs more ground for vegetables.
He believes we should sacrifice our flowers.
Let the flowers grow. We'll replace them.
I must remind our Brother Elias... that man doesn't live by bread alone.
I know it is wrong to raise my voice against any person... but there are those in your order who would change your way of life... for the sake of worldly comfort.
Judge not, Sister, lest ye be judged.
I, too, have made a change for worldly comfort.
Don't forget these sandals that you gave me as a gift.
You have many difficult roads to travel.
But as for me, you are quite wrong.
Oh? And what am I so wrong?
You said my path would be strewn with thorns... but it's been joy every step of the way.
That is an error in which I rejoice.
In such a short time... your order of faithful sisters has grown tenfold.
You've set such a perfect example. I agree. Perfect.
Far from perfect. If you don't develop some little weakness, Sister Clare... you'll surely become a saint.
Brother Francis, we must hurry back.
All the visiting friars will be gathered down there, wondering where you are.
It's a great assembly today.
Good-bye, Sister. Good-bye.
Come on, you sinner.
The cardinal is here! The cardinal!
What a wonderful assembly.
How many friars are here? Two thousand, roughly.
I can remember when there were only 12.
I received your message, Brother Elias. I don't like it.
But it's true. Yes, you have reason on your side... but it sounded like conspiracy.
Your Eminence, you can't go to the council like that.
God made my foot. I'm quite sure he'd prefer to see me out of pain... than see me anxious about my appearance.
Bless you, my son. Your foot.
Yes. It's just a little angry at my shoe for pinching it.
Uh, bring some water, please, Brother Juniper.
Here, let me help you. Thank you.
Brother Domenic, Brother Gabriel, Brother John.
Bless you all, Brothers.
Thank you. You haven't changed, have you?
Was I supposed to?
Power and position can make us forget our true natures.
I'll never seek power. No, but, uh... others may.
Lord Cardinal, two years ago...
I asked permission to go with some of my brothers on a Crusade.
You forbade me to leave Italy. I did.
We had great need of you.
Since that time, five of these brothers are martyrs to our faith.
I can no longer ask them to face danger that I seem to avoid.
So I ask you again: Allow me to go on crusade to the Holy Land.
But what can you hope to accomplish there?
I'll preach to the sultan.
But what would happen to your order here?
With such a host of followers, you cannot leave us here without food or shelter.
The time has come not to rebuild churches, but to build our own.
And this we can do, with the cardinal's permission, of course.
There may be something in what Brother Elias says.
What was good for you and 11 followers... may not be good for 2,000.
Your order must have the means to house, clothe and feed its members.
The Lord will take care of all his children.
But look now, today.
Two thousand people are assembled here.
We know that the Lord fed 5,000... upon the loaves and little fishes.
But do you claim to be able to do the same with this assembly?
No. No, I can't do that.
But I believe that he can, just as he did then.
Excuse me, Your Eminence.
The assembly is waiting for your blessing.
You must not stay too long. His Holiness is gravely ill.
He's here against the physician's orders.
Francis, my son.
So you're determined to preach Christ to the Saracen, hmm?
If I have your blessing, that is the call.
Jerusalem. How can they deny it to us?
Blood flows in the streets where Christ once walked.
This fighting must stop, Francis.
I, the vicar of Christ should be there... but I can barely walk.
I will go for you, with your blessing.
I could ask for no better emissary.
I said that one day I would give you greater tasks.
There can be no greater task... than that of bringing peace to the world.
So go, my son...
and God be with you.
He must be a sorcerer.
We found him in the Sahara.
If that man is not mad, he's a spy.
Here is a gold coin. And tell Ali to kill him immediately! Take him! Out!
I'm the enemy of no man.
The god of love sends me to speak with you, King of the East.
I am told you speak to animals... and they understand your words.
If they do, it is because I love them, as I love all God's creatures.
You love us too? Your enemies? Of course.
This god you speak of, why did he send you to see me?
To reach your heart.
Not with a sword, but with his love.
Through the love in my heart.
All this love.
You wish to surrender your armies?
They're not mine to surrender. I ask only for peace.
How can there be peace with no surrender?
If you would embrace the faith of our Lord, Jesus Christ... peace must follow.
I didn't learn your language to hear these insults. You wish to die?
I am prepared to die for peace.
You die a brave man. But you are not reasonable.
You want me to worship your Christ.
But I reply, you come to Muhammad.
You embrace the faith of the great prophet of God.
There also lies peace.
Order your servants to build a great fire.
Let me and your priests enter its flames.
Then God may show us whose is the greater faith.
My priests do not appear eager to submit to your test.
However, I'll see to it that they accept your challenge.
Have a fire built in front of the tent.
O Sultan, I beg you, do not sacrifice me for this man's madness.
Allah has not been served well today.
But fear in a few priests is not enough to prove that you are right.
Then I will enter the fire alone.
Have you no fear at all?
I fear only my sins... for if I should be burned to death, it would be due only to them.
But if God protects me, you must admit that both his power and compassion... are very great. I would.
Then will you promise both for yourself and for your people... that if I come out of this fire unarmed... you will embrace the faith of my god?
What is it that gives you such courage... your faith or your blindness?
My faith in God's love.
Is it your god's great love that drives Christians to fight wars?
To kill? To plunder and destroy?
Do they deserve sacrifices such as yours?
If men were more perfect, they would need less compassion.
God is not in the sword or in the taking of life, but in the giving of life... for he is love.
God, go with me.
Don't kill yourself. Return to your people in safety... and tell the Christians that if they were all like you...
I would not hesitate to kneel to your god.
And if our peoples continue to pursue the ways of hate... then war upon war will return... until we will become the destroyers of the world.
Only Allah knows which of us is right.
I will arrange a safe journey for you... to the city of your Christ, Jerusalem.
Stay there in peace.
You have not made a Christian today... but you have made... a true friend.
That is the first step.
Peace be with you.
Damietta, the strongest fortification in Egypt.
I also hear the richest.
The plunder alone will justify the struggle.
Please help me. Water, water.
Please. Please help me. Water.
Has the holy war helped the holy brother... to see what life really amounts to?
Paolo. Have you come all this distance to help thy enemy?
Are you still living in a dream?
If you help that man today, tomorrow he will kill you.
Even so, he will have known Christian compassion.
Don't you preach at me. You're sick. You're blind.
Can't you see the world as it really is?
Look around you! Feel it! Smell it! Here is the truth!
You'll not win any converts here.
They've got all they want in victory and the fruits of victory.
If this is victory, blessed be defeat.
I pray forgiveness for what Christians have done in God's name.
You believe in love, Francis?
Well, so do I.
Then won't you join me in loving thy enemy?
A beautiful black Nubian, saffron-skinned beauty from the Far East, huh?
Are you sneering at me a little, saint?
There is no justifying this.
This is killing for killing's sake, Paolo.
Are you judging me?
Are you the new Christ?
What greatness have you done? What have you accomplished?
Men laugh at you. You tried to convert the sultan.
You tried to preach to the Saracens.
You even tried to preach love to our crusaders here.
And has your holy love ended the war? No.
You're a failure. Admit it!
You believe in humility?
Well, drink this and really be humble.
Drink this and admit the flesh is the flesh.
I said drink!
Stop traipsing around the world, aping the Holy Ghost.
Who do you think you are? God?
Thank God I found you.
Juniper, what are you doing here? Who sent you?
No one, Father Francis. I came without permission. It took months to find you.
Why? What's wrong? There must be a grave reason.
They've betrayed you, Father Francis. Betrayed?
They're trying to establish a new order.
They want to change your rule... Elias, Cardinal Ugolino.
Is this what your faith and love has brought you?
Poor fool, I pity you.
We'll go into the desert, Juniper, to pray.
God give you peace, Paolo.
Those fools go into the desert now... they'll end up as dried bones.
Drink this with...
Francis! Bless the Lord that you're alive.
We heard that you were a prisoner in the sultan's camp... and that you had suffered martyrdom.
Welcome home, Father Francis.
Why are they celebrating with a feast?
Since you left, our ways have changed.
This is our daily bread.
Tell Brother Elias I want to see him.
He is very busy in the library.
The chapel has been converted into a library.
Tell him I'm here. I'm sorry, Francis, he gave orders not to be disturbed by anyone.
Francis, welcome back.
A golden chalice... in the house of poverty?
Who accepted all this?
I did. You?
But I left Brother Cattanei in charge.
Brother Cattanei is dead.
He died while you were in the Holy Land.
Sit down, Father Francis. You're exhausted.
In your chair, please. No.
No, it is no longer mine. But, Francis... you are still our spiritual guide.
No one will ever question that.
You must understand that after you went on your mission...
I found much friction, much dissatisfaction in the order.
Some brothers felt that they were suffering hardships needlessly.
Others felt that begging was no longer a sufficient means of supporting our growing order.
And you? How did you personally feel?
I believed, along with the cardinal... that we could do far more good in this world... by becoming self-supporting... which, of course, implied acquiring property.
No! By example we must live.
There is no other way. By example.
The order has spread all over Europe.
Can so large an organization be governed by your example?
Yes, by mine, by yours... by Christ's and by the rule... our rule of no possessions, no property.
Without property or power, the order can't exist.
The rule has been under reconsideration by the pope...
Cardinal Ugolino, the Brothers and me.
I had hoped you'd listen to reason. I have listened to reason... and I find it as much out of place as these... silver pitchers, these golden chalices.
Forgive me, Elias.
This would not be were I not so weak in faith.
Francis, believe me, much of this is designed... to relieve you of daily cares, administrative burdens.
If only you would read the new rule.
Read it through. The spirit is the same... though the interpretation must be in accordance with our numbers.
I'm sorry. My... eyes will not read this rule.
Then trust in me... and sign it.
I trust in the Lord... and our Lord himself dictated our rule... therefore it should be obeyed literally without interpretation.
This rule will go into effect with or without your signature.
There will be less confusion, less pain... if you approve it willingly.
The words of the Gospel. How could you change them?
These were the words of Christ... without interpretation, without change.
Who is it? Sister Clare.
I was so troubled about you.
I wanted to come long ago, but week by week... we expected you to come down from the mountain to us.
Must you live in such solitude and in such a dark cave?
I'm never alone.
Sometimes in the darkness, I see his light shine brighter than the sun.
I have brought you some food.
Well, thank you for the thought, Sister, but I am fasting.
Your whole life has been a celebration of self-denial.
These are simply berries God gave me by the wayside.
Well, I wouldn't want to seem ungrateful to God or to you.
Also, I have brought this ointment for your eyes.
Since I rewrote Elias's rule and retreated to this cave...
I have little need for seeing.
But they are poor eyes to read God's word.
Sister, here, come here.
What does it say here?
"And they took a lance and thrust it into his side."
Always the passion now.
Yet the Lord has not even considered me worthy of martyrdom.
No, I'm to grow old and taste failure.
You know, last night in the sleepless hush...
I could see the moon in all its simplicity.
And the voice came again and whispered to me.
And it was the devil.
"You've failed," he said.
"What have you to show but a dispersed flock and a broken rule?
Better by far that you'd been father of a family and sold cloth."
Francis, this was the devil.
You have spread a blessedness throughout the whole world.
Your joy is to come.
But have I done everything I was told to do?
Was I wrong in believing the Lord had spoken to me?
Am I to give comfort now to the man who has been the sole comfort of my life?
Here's the sun.
I see the whole of the mountainside touched by it... as though the little tall cypress trees... were all the hosts of heaven on the march, in silver armor.
I have seen it so.
Look. Can you see the sun on the hills?
Or the clouds like... like new flocks of white sheep coming up from behind them.
No, but I see the Son himself... and I see the cross... stood against the sky.
And it's time for me to pray.
Please lead me, beloved Sister Clare.
Lead me to that sun, that cross and Him.
God give you peace, Francis.
Father in heaven... forgive this man who covets thy suffering... and clamors for a grace he has not earned.
Abase me... that my brothers may rise.
Punish me... that men may rise up even a little way... by the pattern of thy pain in me.
God, take me to thyself soon.
And with a loud voice, he cried, "Father, Father!
Why hast thou forsaken me?"
All my despair is not worthy to be seen... in the light of thy great agony.
I love thee.
Thy heavens, thy glory... thy cross.
Count de Vandria, good to see you again.
You wish to speak to me about Father Francis. Yes.
He's at the Porziuncola, the church he rebuilt.
I'm glad. Then at least he's alive.
I felt that his failures in the Holy Land had broken him.
He's been grievously ill... but there's no failure in him now.
The failure is in me.
I won honor by the sword, possessions through power.
All these years, i've chased a phantom.
I find life now empty. No joy in it. Reverend Mother...
What does a man do who is not born to be a friar?
I hated Francis... for I felt he'd robbed me of the one woman I loved, and I did him a great harm.
That is why I came, to ask his forgiveness.
Where there is true love, forgiveness is already there.
His sufferings are now taking their toll.
He's dying, Paolo.
Go to him.
What is it, Father Francis?
The poem I wrote for the brothers... about the sun and the creatures of the Earth... please sing it to me.
Please. I know he'll want to see me.
Come near. Take my hand.
Francis, can't you see me?
I see you, in my mind's eye... as I saw you that first day so long ago... when you came into my father's shop.
How much I wished to be like you.
The tall, proud knight.
This hand has brought so many blessings... and mine so much harm.
Whatever small good I have done... will only be worthwhile if it teaches men to live in peace.
Will you forgive me?
May God show you your way.
My foolish Brother Juniper... crying foolish tears... when we should all rejoice in God.
Praised be thou, our Lord... with all thy creatures... especially Sir Brother...
Sun... through whom God gives the light of day.
Praised be thou, our Lord... for those who, through thy love... forgive... who suffer both affliction and pain... blessed is their resignation... for in thee, Most High... they will find their glory.
Take me down from this bed... and put me on the floor.
I must meet my Lord as the worthless beggar I am.
My friends... they call me.
The skylark, he is my brother... for he rises up to heaven... and calls and calls... back to the beloved Earth... below.
Farewell, my beloved teacher and guide.
Poorest, most humble... richest of all.
Pax et bonum.
Once you thought you were called to build churches of mortar and stone... but you were building chapels in the hearts of millions of men and women everywhere.