The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 436 

Sylvester, did.a One soared, like an eagle, to the light of divine wisdom: this was the most humble Brother Bernard, who made clear the most profound passages of Scripture. One of these was sanctified by the Lord and canonized in heaven while he was still alive on earth, as if sanctified in the womb: this was Brother Rufino, a nobleman of Assisi, a man most faithful to Christ. And so all of these companions were illustrious because of a special prerogative as will be shown below.

10 The first-born of these, both by precedence, by time, and by privilege of holiness, was Brother Bernard of Assisi who was converted in the following manner.b Saint Francis was still wearing secular clothing, and yet was already completely looked down upon and despaired of by worldly hope, because once he was so completely unsightly and dirty that many thought that he was crazy. He was nevertheless seasoned by divine salt, and grounded and confirmed in tranquility by the Holy Spirit, even though for a long time he was pelted with stones and mud and endured countless insults both from his own people and outsiders as he went through Assisi. He passed through all this with the greatest patience, and as if deaf and mute Ps 38:14 [Vulgate, Ps 37:14] with a happy countenance.

13 Lord Bernard of Assisi, who was one of the most noble, wealthy, and wise men of the city, to whose advice everyone consented, began to consider wisely Saint Francis's profound contempt of the world and his great constancy and patience in tolerating insults, since for almost two years, tested and despised by all, he seemed to become ever more steadfast. He said to himself: "In no way can this Francis have great grace from God."

15 Inspired by God, he invited Francis to eat with him in the evening. Francis assented to this request and ate with him that very evening. But Lord Bernard had in mind the wish to probe the holiness of Saint Francis and therefore invited Francis to sleep in his home that night. When Saint Francis humbly agreed to this, Lord Bernard had a bed prepared in his own room, where a lamp was continually burning at night. However, as soon as Saint Francis entered the room, in order to conceal the divine grace he possessed, he immediately threw himself on the bed, indicating that he wanted to go to sleep. But Lord Bernard intended to watch him secretly during the night, so he used this precaution: after he lay on his bed quietly for a little while, he feigned a deep sleep by snoring very loudly.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 436