The Little Flowers of Saint Francis (after 1337) - 569 

therefore, and do entirely what you have heard; and blessed be our Lord Jesus Christ, who has deigned to show us His evangelical life." Hearing this, Sir Bernard went off and sold what he had—and he was very rich, and with great joy distributed everything to the poor, to widows, to orphans, to prisons, to monasteries and hospitals. And in everything Saint Francis faithfully and carefully helped him.

And one, whose name was Sir Sylvester, seeing that Saint Francis gave so much money to the poor and made others give, grasped by greed said to Saint Francis: "You didn't pay me in full for those stones you bought from me to repair the church, but now that you have so much money, pay me." Then Saint Francis, amazed at his greed, and not wishing to argue with him, as a true observer of the holy Gospel, reached his hands in Sir Bernard's lap and, with his hands full of money, put it in the lap of Sir Sylvester, saying that if he wanted more, he would give him more. Sir Sylvester, happy with that money, went away and returned home. In the evening, thinking over what he had done that day, he reproached himself for his greed, considering the fervor of Sir Bernard and the holiness of Saint Francis. The following night and the next two nights he had from God this vision: from the mouth of Saint Francis came forth a cross of gold; its top touched the sky, and its arms reached from the East all the way to the West. Because of this vision he gave what he had for God, and became a Lesser Brother, and remained in the Order in such holiness and grace that he spoke with God as one friend with another, as Saint Francis found out more than once, as will be told more fully below.

Sir Bernard similarly had such grace from God that he was often rapt away to God in contemplation, and Saint Francis said of him that he was worthy of every reverence and that he had founded the Order, because he was the first who had abandoned the world, keeping nothing for himself, but giving everything to the poor of Christ, starting evangelical poverty, offering himself naked into the arms of the Crucified.

May He be blessed by us forever. Rom 9:5




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 569