The Deeds of Blessed Francis & His Companions (1328-1337) - 447 

his arms crossed placed his left hand on the head Gn 48:14 of Brother Elias and his right on the head of Brother Bernard. Then he said: "May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ bless you in heaven with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph 1:3 Just as you were chosen first in this Order to give the example of the Gospel and to imitate Christ in evangelical poverty, because not only did you freely give away your possessions and disperse them entirely for love of Christ, but you also gave yourself as a sacrifice to God in the odor of sweetness, therefore, may you be blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ and by me his poor little servant with everlasting blessings, whether you are coming or going, awake or sleeping, living or dying. May he who blesses you be filled with blessings, and whoever curses you will not be immune. Be the master of your brothers, and may all of them be subject to your authority. And whomever you wish to receive into this Order, let them be received, and whomever you wish to expel, let them be expelled. Let no brother have authority over you, and may you be freely able to go or to stay wherever you will."

17 After the death of Saint Francis when the blessed son was approaching death,a many of the brothers came from different localities because they loved him with the affection due a father. Among them was that very holy and God-like man, Brother Giles, who, after he saw Brother Bernard, said with great joy: "Sursum corda! Brother Bernard, sursum corda!" Brother Bernard whispered to a brother to prepare a place suitable for contemplation where Brother Giles could contemplate the things of heaven.

20 When Brother Bernard reached the last hour before dying, he had himself raised and he said to the attending brothers: "My most dear brothers, I do not want to speak many words, but you ought to consider that I was once in the condition that you are now, and that you will be in the condition that I am now. I have found in my soul that not for a thousand worlds equal to this one would I wish not to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. And I accuse myself before my God and Savior the Lord Jesus Christ and before you for every offence that I committed. I ask you, my most dear brothers, to love one another."

22 After these words and other salutary exhortations, he lay back on his bed. His countenance became exceedingly brilliant and joyful to the astonishment of all who were standing around. And with that joy his soul, happy with the victory which was promised to him earlier, passed over to the joys of the blessed.

To the praise and glory of God.




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 3, p. 447