A Mirror of the Perfection (The Lemmons Edition, 1901) - 227 

fulfilled the perfection of the holy Gospel, distributing all his goods to the 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 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. For 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 had by now let go of the 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."

He requested that holy anointing be given him, and when the brothers came prepared and began to do the anointing, suddenly the vessel containing the holy oil broke apart. The Brother Peregrino from the Marches, a spiritual and holy man who was




Speculum Perfectionis (minus), Fontes Franciscani, p. 1771-1773

et qui primo incepit et complevit perfectissime perfectionem sancti Evangelii distribuendo bona sua pauperibus omnia; 10propter quod et multas alias prerogativas teneor ipsum magis diligere, quam aliquem fratrem totius religionis. 11Unde volo et precipio, sicut possum, quod quicumque fuerit generalis minister, ipsum diligat et honoret tanquam 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 dati sunt fratri Bernardo ad exercitium quidam de magnis et subtilissimis demonibus, qui multas tribulationes et tentationes immictent in eum, 15sed misericors Dominus prope finem suum substollet ipsum de omni tribulatione et tentatione interiori et exteriori et ponet spiritum eius et corpus in tanta pace et quiete et consolatione, quod universi fratres, qui viderint et audierint, plurimum inde ammirabuntur et pro magno miraculo habebunt; 16et in pace, quiete et consolatione utriusque hominis transibit ad Dominum de hoc seculo ».

17Et plurimum inde ammirati 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 hoc fuit? Quare sic cogitavi? ». 21Immo cum libenter poneret aquam roseam pro confortatione ad nares, cum magis appropinquaret morti, nolebat eam suis manibus applicari propter continuam Dei meditationem. 22Unde dicebat offerenti: « Noli me impedire! ».

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

25Postulavit sibi unctionem sanctam dari, et, cum fratres parati venissent et cepissent velle ungere, statim fractum est vas, ubi erat oleum sanctum; 26tunc frater Peregrinus de Marchia, spiritalis et sanctus homo, qui erat tunc socius eius,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 227