July 2nd - St. Bernard of Quintavale



July 2nd - St. Bernard of Quintavale

The first companion of St Francis was Brother Bernard of Assisi, who was
converted in the following way: St Francis had not yet taken the religious
habit, though he had renounced the world, and had so given himself to penance
and mortification that many looked upon him as one out of his mind. He was
scoffed at as a madman, was rejected and despised by his relations and by
strangers, who threw stones and mud at him when he passed; yet he went on his
way, accepting these insults as patiently as if he had been deaf and dumb. Then
Bernard of Assisi, one of the richest and most learned nobles of the city, began
to consider deeply the conduct of St Francis; how utterly he despised the world,
how patiently he suffered injuries, and how his faith remained firm, though he
had been for two years an object of contempt and rejected by all. He began to
think and say within himself, "It is evident that this brother must have
received great graces from God"; and so resolved to invite him to sup and to
sleep in his house. St Francis having accepted the invitation, Bernard, who was
resolved to contemplate the sanctity of his guest, ordered a bed to be prepared
for him in his own room, where a lamp burned all night. Now St Francis, in order
to conceal his sanctity, so soon as he entered the room, threw himself upon the
bed, pretending to fall asleep. Bernard likewise soon after went to bed, and
began to snore as if sleeping soundly. On this, St Francis, thinking that
Bernard was really fast asleep, got up and began to pray. Raising his hands and
eyes to heaven, he exclaimed with great devotion and fervour, "My God! my God!"
at the same time weeping bitterly; and thus he remained on his knees all night,
repeating with great love and fervour the words, "My God! my God!" and none
others.

And this he did because, being enlightened by the Holy Spirit, he contemplated
and admired the divine majesty of God, who deigned to take pity on the perishing
world, and to save not only the soul of Francis, his poor little one, but those
of many others also through his means. For, being enlightened by the Holy Ghost,
he foresaw the great things which God would deign to accomplish through him and
through his Order; and considering his insufficiency and unworthiness, he prayed
and called upon the Lord, through his power and wisdom, to supply, help and
accomplish that which of himself he could not do.

Then Bernard, seeing by the light of the lamp the devout actions of St Francis
and the expression of his countenance, and devoutly considering the words he
uttered, was touched by the Holy Spirit, and resolved to change his life. Next
morning, therefore, he called St Francis, and thus addressed him: "Brother
Francis, I am disposed in heart wholly to leave the world, and to obey thee in
all things as thou shalt command me." At these words, St Francis rejoiced in
spirit and said, "Bernard, a resolution such as thou speakest of is so difficult
and so great an act, that we must take counsel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and
pray to him that he may be pleased to show us what is his will, and may teach us
to follow it. Let us then go together to the Bishop's palace, where we shall
find a good priest who will say Mass for us. We will then remain in prayer till
the third hour, imploring the Lord to point out to us the way he wishes us to
select, and to this intent we will open the Missal three times." And when
Bernard answered that he was well pleased with this proposal, they set out
together, heard Mass, and after they had remained in prayer till the time fixed,
the priest, at the request of St Francis, took up Missal, then, having made the
sign of the holy cross, he opened it three times, in the name of our Lord Jesus
Christ.

The first place which he lit upon was at the answer of Christ to the young man
who asked of him the way to perfection: If thou wilt be perfect, go, sell all
that thou hast and give to the poor, and come, follow me. The second time he
opened at the words which the Saviour addressed to the Apostles when he sent
them forth to preach the Word of Truth: Take nothing with you for your journey:
neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; wishing to teach them thereby to
commit the care of their lives to him, and give all their thoughts to the
preaching of the Holy Gospel. When the Missal was opened a third time they came
upon these words: If any one will come after me, let him deny himself, and take
up his cross, and follow me.

Then St Francis, turning to Bernard, said: "This is the advice that the Lord has
given us; go and do as thou hast heard; and blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ who
has pointed out to thee the way of his angelic life." Upon this, Bernard went
and sold all that he had. Now he was very rich, and with great joy he
distributed his wealth to widows, to orphans, to prisoners, to monasteries, to
hospitals, and to pilgrims, in all which St Francis assisted him with prudence
and fidelity.

Now it happened that a man of the name of Silvester, seeing how St Francis gave
so much money to the poor, being urged on by avarice, went to him and said:
"Thou didst not pay me enough for the stones I sold thee to repair the church;
now that thou hast money, pay me what thou owest." St Francis, much surprised at
such a demand, but, according to the precepts of the Scriptures, not wishing to
dispute with him, gave it to Silvester, saying that, if he wanted more, he would
give it to him. Silvester, being satisfied, returned home; but in the evening of
the same day he reflected on his avarice, and on the holiness and the fervour of
St Francis. That night also he saw St Francis in a vision, and it seemed to him
as if a golden cross came out of his mouth, which reached up to heaven and
extended to the extreme east and west. After this vision he gave all he
possessed to the poor, for the love of God, and made himself a Brother Minor. He
became so holy, and was favoured with such special graces, that he spake with
the Lord as a friend speaks with a friend, of which St Francis was often a
witness, as we shall see further on. Bernard likewise received from God many
graces - he was ravished in contemplation, and St Francis said he was worthy of
all reverence, and that he had founded the Order, because he was the first who
had abandoned the world, giving all he possessed to the poor of Christ, keeping
back nothing for himself; and practicing evangelical poverty, placing himself
naked in the arms of the Crucified, whom may we all bless eternally. Amen.

From:
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/ugolino/flowers.iii.ii.html


Saint Quote:
"They have abstained from the Eucharist and prayer, because they do not confess
that the Eucharist is the flesh of Our Savior Jesus Christ."
-St. Ignatius of Antioch, disciple of the Apostle John, concerning the heretics
of his day

Bible Quote
56 For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. (John 6:56)


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Today is also the Feast of the Visitation of Our Blessed Mother to her sister
Elizabeth's. It is here that John the Baptist was cleansed of sin within his
mother's womb, so that he could make straight the path of the Lord.

Veni, Sancte Spiritus (Come, O Holy Spirit); a Sequence: excellent for
recitation at Holy Mass:

I. Come, O Holy Spirit, and send out a ray of your heavenly light.
II. Come, Father of the poor, come, giver of gifts, come, light of our hearts.
III. Come, kindly comforter, sweet guest of our soul and sweet freshness.
IV. Rest in hardship, moderation in the heat, relief in pain!
V. O most blessed light, fill the innermost hearts of those who believe in
you.
VI. Without your divine power there is nothing in man, nothing that is
harmless.
VII. Wash what is unclean, water what is arid, heal what is wounded.
VIII. Bend what is stiff, warm what is cold, guide what has gone astray.
IX. Give to those who believe in you and trust in you your seven sacred gifts.
X. Give the reward of virtue, give the end of salvation, give lasting
happiness!

The author of this sequence, which dates to the beginning of the thirteenth
century, is probably Stephen Langton.




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