The Assisi Compilation - 127 

poor. Because of this and his many other prerogatives, I am bound to love him more than any other brother in the whole religion. As much as I am able, it is my will and command that whoever becomes general minister should love and honor him as he would me. Let the other provincial ministers and the brothers of the whole religion hold him in my place."a Because of this, Brother Bernard was greatly consoled as were the other brothers who saw this.

Another time, considering the outstanding perfection of Brother Bernard, blessed Francis prophesied about him in the presence of some of the brothers: "I tell you, some of the greatest and most cunning devils have been sent to test Brother Bernard. They will send him many trials and temptations. The merciful Lord, however, will deliver him toward the end of his life from all troubles and temptations, internal and external. And He will place his spirit and body in such peace, quiet, and consolation that all the brothers who see or hear of this will be greatly astonished, and consider it a great miracle. In this peace, quiet, and consolation of both body and soul, he will pass from this world to the Lord."

The brothers who heard this from blessed Francis were greatly astonished, since everything he predicted about him through the Holy Spirit came true, to the letter, point by point. In his last illness Brother Bernard was in such great peace and quiet of spirit that he did not want to lie down. And if he lay down, he lay in a sitting position so that not even the lightest mist of humors would reach his head, inducing fantasies or dreams, rather than thoughts of God. And if this happened, he would immediately get up and strike himself, saying "What was that? Why was I thinking that way?" For relief, he gladly used to smell rose water, but as he drew closer to death, he refused to do even this, for the sake of constant meditation on God. He would say to anyone offering it: "Don't distract me."

In order to die more freely, peacefully, and quietly, he deprived himself of care for his body, putting himself in the hands of one of the brothers who was a doctor and who was taking care of him. "I do not wish to be concerned about eating or drinking," he would say, "but I entrust myself to you. If you give me something, I'll take it. If you don't, then I won't."

When he began to grow weaker, he wanted to have a priest brother with him at all times, until the hour of his death. Whenever




Compilatio Assisiensis, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1488-1489

When he began to grow weaker, he wanted to have a priest brother with him at all times, until the hour of his death. Whenever

distribuendo bona sua omnia pauperibus; 10propter quod et propter multas alias prerogativas teneor ipsum magis diligere, quam aliquem fratrem totius Religionis. 11Unde volo et precipio, sicut possum, ut quicumque fuerit generalis minister, ipsum diligat et honoret tamquam meipsum, ac etiam [alii] ministri provinciales et fratres totius Religionis ipsum teneant vice mea ». 12Et plurimum inde consolatus est frater Bernardus et alii fratres videntes hoc.

13Nam quodam tempore, considerans beatus Franciscus nimiam perfectionem fratris Bernardi, prophetavit de ipso coram quibusdam fratribus dicens: 14 « Dico vobis quod fratri Bernardo dati sunt ad exercitium quidam de magnis et subtilissimis demonibus, qui multas tribulationes et temptationes immittent in eum, 15sed misericors ominus prope finem suum substollet ipsum de omni tribulatione et temptatione interiori et exteriori et ponet spiritum eius et corpus in tanta pace, quiete et consolatione, quod universi fratres, qui viderint et audierint, plurimum inde admirabuntur et pro magno miraculo habebunt; 16et in illa pace, quiete et consolatione utriusque hominis, transibit de hoc seculo ad Dominum ».

17Et plurimum inde admirati sunt fratres, qui hoc a beato Francisco audierunt, quoniam ad litteram de puncto ad punctum verum fuit, quod de ipso predixerat per Spiritum Sanctum. 18Nam frater Bernardus, in egritudine mortis, in tanta pace et quiete spiritus erat, quod iacere nolebat; 19et si iacebat, quasi sedendo iacebat, ne etiam levissima fumositas humorum ascendens ad caput eius induceret imaginationem et somnium aliud preter pertinens ad id quod cogitabat de Deo; 20et si aliquando hoc fieret, statim surgebat et concutiebat se dicens: « Quid fuit hoc? Quare sic cogitavi? ». 21Immo cum libenter poneret aquam rosaseam ad nares pro confortatione, cum magis appropinquaret morti, nolebat ponere propter continuam Dei meditationem. 22Unde dicebat offerenti: « Noli me impedire ».

23Et ad hoc, ut magis libere et pacifice et quiete mori posset, expropriavit se de corporis officiis in manibus cuiusdam fratris, qui erat medicus et iuvabat eum, dicens illi: 24 « Nullam michi volo curam inde esse comedendi vel bibendi, sed tibi committo; si dederis, accipiam; si non, non ».

25Ex quo autem cepit infirmari, voluit semper habere iuxta se fratrem sacerdotem usque in horam mortis.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 127