The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 567 

was touched on the lips by the Angel with the fiery coal like Isaiah the prophet. One of them, and that was Brother Sylvester, spoke with God as one friend with another, as Moses did. One through subtlety of intelligence soared to the light of divine wisdom like an eagle, that is, John the Evangelist, and this was the very humble Brother Bernard, who explained the depths of Holy Scripture. One of them was sanctified by God and canonized in heaven while still living in the world, and that was Brother Rufino, a gentleman of Assisi.a Thus all were marked by a singular sign of holiness, as described in what follows.

Chapter 2

The first companion of Saint Francis was Brother Bernard of Assisi, who was converted in this way. Saint Francis was still in secular clothing, though he had already despised the world, and was going about all despised and mortified by penance, so that many considered him a fool, and he was scorned as a madman and driven away with rocks and mud by relatives and strangers, and he remained patient as if deaf and mute to every injury and insult. Sir Bernard of Assisi, who was one of the noblest and richest and wisest people of the city, wisely began to consider Saint Francis: his great scorn for the world; his great patience in injuries. Even after being so despised and scorned by everyone for two years, he always seemed even more constant and patient. He began to think and say to himself: "It cannot be that this Francis does not have great grace from God." And he invited him for the evening for supper and lodging; and Saint Francis accepted and dined with him in the evening and lodged there.

Then Sir Bernard decided in his heart to examine his holiness. He had a bed prepared in his own chamber, in which a lamp always burned at night. And Saint Francis, to conceal his holiness, as soon as he entered the chamber jumped into bed and gave the appearance of sleeping. And Sir Bernard also, after a little while, lay down and began to snore loudly, as if he were sleeping very deeply. Then Saint Francis, truly believing that Sir Bernard was sleeping, during the first time of sleep, got up from the bed and set himself to praying, lifting his eyes and his hands to heaven, and with great devotion and fervor said: "My God, My God." Saying this, and sobbing, he




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 567