The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 445 

greater: he deliberately kept returning to that piazza over several days to be insulted in the same way. No matter how many insults he suffered from these people, his smiling face always showed his spirit unperturbed. And because it is patience that takes a work and approves it as perfect, a wise judge waited and carefully watched a consistent virtue thoroughly undisturbed over so many days. He said to himself: "It's impossible for that not to be a holy man!" Approaching Brother Bernard, he asked: "Who are you? Why did you come here?" Brother Bernard put his hand into his breast pocket and brought out the evangelical Rule of Saint Francis which he carried in his heart and showed by his deeds. When the judge had read the very high standard of this Rule, being an intelligent man, he was completely dumbstruck. Then turning to his companions, he said with the greatest admiration: "This state of life is higher than any I've ever heard of, and, for that reason, this man and his companions are some of the holiest men in this world. So whoever heaps insults on them commits a grave sin. He should be singled out for the highest honors, not insults since he is truly a friend of the Most High." Then he said to Brother Bernard: "Dear Brother, if someone were to offer you a place that suits you, where you could better serve God and you were willing to accept it, I would most willingly give it to you for the salvation of my soul." Brother Bernard responded: "My very dear sir, I believe that our Lord Jesus Christ has inspired you to do this."

18 Then the judge took Brother Bernard to his home and there received him with great love and joy. He later showed him the place he had promised and at his own expense he fully and devoutly took care of everything. This judge became the defender and special father of Brother Bernard and his companions. Because of his holy life among them Brother Bernard began to be honored so much by the people that whoever was able to touch, hear, or see him considered himself blessed.

20 But Brother Bernard, like the truly humble disciple of Christ that he was, feared that the honor shown him might at the same time impede his tranquility and salvation. So he left and returned to Saint Francis. "A place to live has been accepted in Bologna. Therefore, Father, send brothers who will live there. I am not gaining anything there anymore. In fact, due to the great honor shown to me there, I fear that I will lose more than I gain." Saint Francis listened one after another to all the things which had been done through Brother Bernard, and rejoicing and exulting in spirit he began to praise the Most High who for the salvation of the people was thus spreading out these poor little disciples of the Cross. From that time on he selected some of his companions and sent them into




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 445