LITTLE FLOWERS OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI, Chapter 38
HOW IT WAS REVEALED TO ST FRANCIS THAT BROTHER ELIAS WAS DAMNED AND WAS TO DIE OUT OF THE ORDER; AND HOW AT THE DESIRE OF THE SAID BROTHER, HE PRAYED TO CHRIST FOR HIM, AND HOW HIS PRAYER WAS GRANTED
It's interesting to me that the prayer for Brother Elias' salvation was pronounced answered, and Brother Francis was relieved to learn that brother Elias would be saved, before the later events which caused him to be excommunicated. God is not bound by the limitations of time and space as we are.
This story touches on issues related to the authority of the church. There are strong emotions attached to some interpretations of these issues, which contributed to the situations that led up to the Reformation and continue to divide us. I'm not exactly inviting us to open that can of worms here, but I want to beg that we respect the beliefs of those we might disagree with if anyone does want to say something about these things. This is an area about which I have personally found it difficult to think clearly. On the one hand, Christians are to all be one; on the other, we're not to be swayed by every wind of doctrine.
This flowers story contains an example of one way the flowers stories are very similar to the gospel stories: they both give reference to the rulers of the age in which they occured, placing them historically in time and place. They're not to be taken as having happened "once upon a time," they're to be read as narrations of actual historic events.