THE PROGRESS OF THE ORDER
4.1 The fervour of the early brothers
4.2 The strength of discipline and perfection of virtues
4.3 The virtue of humility
4.4 The virtue of chastity
4.5 The virtue of prayer
4.6 Against neglect of the Liturgy of the Hours
4.7 The virtue of confession
4.8 Those who entered the Order because of the vanity of worldly joy
4.9 Those who entered because of the holiness of the brothers
4.10 Those who entered because of the power of the word of God
4.11 Those who entered to avoid present or future suffering
4.12 Those who entered because of special private revelations
4.13 Those who entered because of special devotion to and inspiration from the Blessed Mary
4.14 How the devil fights the Order as his enemy
4.15 How demons corrected some less fervent brothers
4.16 Temptations of novices
4.17 The temptation of gluttony
4.18 The temptation of stubbornness
4.19 The temptation of curiosity about philosophers
4.20 The temptation of ambition
4.21 The temptation of indignation
4.22 The temptation of day-dreaming
4.23 Divine revelations and consolations to the brothers
4.24 Brothers who were famous for miracles in their lives
4.1 The fervour of the early brothers
In the early days the fervour of the Order was so great that it cannot be adequately described. The spirit of life was in the wheels. The living creatures went back and forth, up and down, as the Spirit directed them (cf. Ezekiel 1).
You could see throughout the Order a wonderful fervour: Some, after their daily sincere confession, prayed with sighs, bitter tears and cries for their own and others' sins; others would spend the whole night in prayer, keeping their spirit up with hundreds of genuflections.
You could hardly ever see the church without someone praying there. If the porter had to look for a brother, he was more likely to find him praying in the church than elsewhere.
A very religious brother tells the story that within a short time he heard general confessions of one hundred brothers, most of whom had kept chastity of mind and body throughout their lives, but not without constant prayer and religious observance, which are the guardians of chastity. Besides, many were so aflame with holy fervour that they could never get up from prayer without obtaining some special grace from the Lord. Thus one said that he could not rest in the night without first shedding tears in prayer.
Another brother of great authority relates that while he was praying before the altar at Bologna, he saw another brother in the fervour of his prayer lifted bodily from the ground.
At that time also the brothers looked forward to Compline as to a great feast, commending themselves to one another with great heart-felt affection. At the bell, they would hurry to choir from wherever they were, and when the Hour was finished and they had very devoutly saluted the Queen of the whole world and Advocate of our Order, they subjected themselves to flagellations. Then they made the rounds of the various altars, humbly prostrating in front of them and shedding such a flood of tears that, if you came from outside, you would think that it was a funeral lamentation. Many lay people heard about this and came to see; they were impressed, and some because of this entered the Order.
Afterwards, they did not immediately run to study their books, but remained in the church or went off to the chapter or various nooks of the cloister to examine their consciences very strictly and flagellate themselves strongly, some with sticks, others with knotted leather, so that they would not be heard. After Matins, few went to study and fewer still went to bed, and very few did not go to confession before celebrating Mass. At dawn the bell was rung for the Masses. Then the brothers came, each eager for the sacred privilege of serving one of the private Masses.
Who could describe their devotion to the Blessed Virgin? After standing to say the Matins of her Office, they hurried devoutly to her altar, so as to fill that little time with prayer before the Divine Office. After Matins and Compline they sometimes surrounded the altar of the Blessed Virgin in three rows, with admirable devotion commending themselves and the Order to her. In their cells they also had an image of her and of her crucified Son before their eyes, so that they could look on them, whether they were reading or praying or sleeping, and that Jesus and Mary might look upon them with an eye of kindness.
They were eager to serve one another in the infirmary, the guest house, at table and in washing feet, and each one considered himself privileged to outdo the other in these matters. How often the brothers took off their cappas, tunics and shoes, and gave them to brothers coming off the road, even those they never knew before. They had such devotion and joy of face while serving, that they seemed to be serving not men but God and angels. Sometimes a server would sense such tenderness that he would secretly kiss the plates. In observing silence, the brothers were wonderfully devoted at that time. At times, one would abstain from wine for eight days. Another, when offered a plate of food, would pour some cold water on it to dilute its taste. Another went all of Lent drinking only once a day and not talking unless addressed. Many seldom took from the course of cheese or eggs; others, to avoid notice, would abstain from a different item of food every day. In preaching the word of God, for which the Order was originally established, God poured out such fervour on them that many dared not eat with a clear conscience any day that they did not preach at least once; in their preaching the Holy Spirit's interior anointing supplied for what they lacked in acquired knowledge, so that many of them converted crowds to repentance using only the text of the seven canonical Hours, together with the Gospel of Blessed Matthew, which Blessed Dominic so often recommended to the brothers.
In a General Chapter at Paris, when some brothers had to be sent to the Province of the Holy Land, (76) Master Jordan announced that those brothers who were willing to go should indicate to him. He had hardly finished speaking when nearly the entire assembly made the venia, prostrating with weeping and tears and begging to be sent to the land consecrated by the blood of the Saviour. When Brother Peter of Rheims, then provincial of France, saw this, he got up and made the venia with the rest and said to the Master: "Good Master, either send these dearest brothers back to me, or send me with them, because I am ready to go with them unto death."
Pope Innocent asked the Prior Provincial of France to send some brothers to the Tartars, because of some reports he had heard which gave him the hope of making progress among them. (77) The Pope's assignment was read in the Provincial Chapter, and so many brothers volunteered that the whole Chapter was filled with tears, some weeping over such dear and beloved brothers exposing themselves to such a demanding task and the likelihood of death, others for joy, because they were allowed to go, others for sorrow, because they were refused.
When Brother Humbert became Master of the Order, he announced to all the brothers in the Order that any who were willing to be sent to barbarian lands and learn the languages of those places should let him know. No one can count how many brothers from all over volunteered not only "to carry the seed", but also asked him, by the Saviour's shedding of his blood and blessed death, to send them even to die, if need be, to spread the faith and glory of the Saviour among the Gentiles.
Again, who could tell or write about the fervour the brothers experienced at the transferral of the remains of Blessed Dominic? This was manifest through preaching and open miracles not only at Bologna, but all over Italy and throughout the Order. So we leave this to God who knows everything perfectly, and is blessed forever. Amen.
4.2 The strength of discipline and perfection of virtues
There was such discipline in correcting abuses, especially with regard to private property, that it was unheard of to accept or give even a little amount without special permission.
4.2.1 At Bologna one brother accepted a cheap piece of cloth without permission. When this was discovered, Master Reginald, of blessed memory, caned him severely in the chapter room and had the cloth burned in the cloister in the midst of the brothers. (78) When that brother would not recognize his fault and was unwilling to humiliate himself to caning, but rather protested, the man of God told the brothers to forcibly ready him for caning. Then Master Reginald lifted his eyes to heaven with tears, saying, "Lord Jesus Christ, you gave your servant Benedict the power to expel the prick of the devil in his monk by caning. Please grant by this caning that the temptation of the devil may be removed from the soul of this brother." He then gave him such a severe caning that the brothers were moved to tears. But the brother got up weeping and said, "Thank you, Father, because you really expelled the devil from me. I could clearly feel a snake going out of my waist." The brother then made progress and became a very good and humble religious.
4.2.2 A brother was tempted to quit the Order and was caught while trying to go out of the house. He was brought to the chapter room before Brother Reginald at Bologna and, when he refused to recognize his fault, Brother Reginald told him to get himself ready for caning. When that was done, Brother Reginald began to give him a severe beating, repeating as he did so, "Go out, demon!" At times he would turn to the brothers and tell them to pray, intending by caning and prayer to chase the demon from the culprit's heart. After continuing this way for a long time, the brother shouted, "Father, listen to me." "What do you have to say, son?" "I want to tell you that the devil has really gone out, and I promise you I will remain." The brothers were happy to hear this and gave thanks to God, while the brother remained in the Order, confirmed in his vocation.
4.2.3 While one brother was going on a certain assignment, he met Blessed Dominic coming back from preaching. After some greetings, the Saint asked him if he was carrying any money, for he had a spiritual realization that the brother was not going as the rule requires. When the brother saw that he was caught, he humbly confessed that he did have money. Blessed Dominic commanded him to throw it away, and gave him a suitable penance for this transgression.
4.3 The virtue of humility
4.3.1 The venerable father, Master Humbert, tells of a Spanish brother, who was a man of great holiness and fame and had a high position in the world. (79) Humbert was his companion and close friend in the Paris convent and sick in the same room with him. The brother was so good that while the brothers were at class, he went to their rooms and cleaned whatever was soiled; he carried away the refuse from the infirmary; he took with thanks the treatment he was given, however distasteful, even though he had been a doctor. When anyone needed him he left everything and presented himself with a willing soul and happy face. He taught by words and example that not only material occupations, but also prayer, devotion and the like must be dropped for the sake of fraternal charity. He never offended anyone, and gave way to his elders in everything. He was always either praying or reading or teaching or meditating, not having time for less useful interests, although he was widely read and had heard and could freely quote from the lives of the Fathers and of the saints. His most urgent concern was preaching and the spiritual progress of others, while he neglected himself. By his holy behaviour he inspired all to love the Order with its holy poverty and true obedience. Hardly ever would tempted novices be brought to him without going away very consoled. Although ill himself, he greatly consoled and encouraged the sick, advising them not to trust in medicine, but to take gladly the medicine they were given with faith in Christ; then it would do them good, since grace is more powerful than nature, and Christ is more powerful than Galenus. When some brothers were eagerly discussing rumours and secular news, he silently put up with it for a while; then, gradually throwing in words about God, diplomatically turned their conversation to more profitable topics; thus in his presence idle conversation could not continue. It could scarcely be noticed that he spoke a single idle word in a whole year. He never went out for recreation or the like, but only for some necessary or useful reason. He was so rapt in holy meditation and contemplation that when brothers came to visit the sick and sat next to him he did not notice them; then, like someone coming from another world, he got up and cheerfully welcomed them, as if they had just come in.
This brother also wrote to Master Humbert from Spain that there was an inner light by which the hearts of the saints are illumined even in this life, just as our outer eyes are illumined by exterior light. It is certain that he would not say so unless he had experience this himself. Thus a brother who was his travelling companion told the Master that he saw him sometimes sit down suddenly on the road, rapt in spirit and not conscious of exterior things, and then come to himself with much groaning, sorrowing that he was being separated from those superior illuminations.
4.3.2 A decent and trustworthy brother who served the Lord very purely for a long time in the Order without ever sensing those consolations and pleasant experiences of God which he read and heard that others often have a foretaste of, was standing one night before the crucifix and sadly complained to the Lord in these words: "Lord I have heard that you exceed every creature in kindness and goodness. I have served you for many years, keeping to a hard way of life for the sake of the words you have spoken and have willingly consecrated my whole self to you. I know, Lord, that if I had given even a quarter of such service to any tyrant, he would have shown me some sign of his pleasure, either by saying some nice words to me or giving me something or telling me some secret or at least smiling at me. But you, Lord, have not sent me any sweet feeling or shown any sign of good pleasure; you, Lord, who are preached as sweetness itself, are crueller and harder to me than any tyrant. Why should this be, Lord?"
As these and similar thoughts went through his mind for quite some time, he suddenly heard once and then a second time a loud thunder as if the church were falling down, and on the ceiling he heard a loud noise as if many dogs were trying to dig through the roof with their claws. At this he was extremely terrified and his whole body shook. Then behind him he saw someone with a horrible face, carrying a pole, with which he hit him on the waist and threw him to the ground. Since he could not get up at all, he crawled towards an altar, but could not go further because of his pain. When the brothers woke up for Prime and found him in great pain, they took him to the infirmary, not knowing the reason for his sickness. He lay there three weeks, giving off a smell repulsive not only to himself but to others as well. Those who were looking after him could come near only with their noses masked. When he finally regained his strength and was cured of his presumption, he went back to the place where he was struck and where he merited God's anger and there asked for mercy, saying: "My Lord, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I am undeserving of all your acts of mercy and unworthy of your great benefits; you, Lord, justly struck me; so kindly heal me." He then prostrated and asked for pardon again and again for his stupid thoughts and words against God. Then he heard a voice: "If you want to have the consolations and sweetness of spirit that you desire, you must consider yourself as vile as a worm and the clay you are walking on." On hearing this, he got up consoled, thanking God; from then on he eagerly and willingly embraced humility and carefully held to it.
The brother to whom this happened told this story to the Master of the Order, and later he became a man of great perfection and authority in the Order.
4.3.3 Another story illustrating humility is what happened to a German brother who was enlightened by God to recognize his misery and think of the mercy of God. He thought of the words, "She accompanied him down into the pit" (Wisdom 10:9); thinking how mercifully God had redeemed him from so many dangers, he was so caught up in the love of God and a wonderful devotion that he lay in an agony of love for three days without eating or drinking, except for the little the brothers could funnel into his mouth. From his humility he became so peaceful at heart that nothing could provoke him.
4.4 The virtue of chastity
4.4.1 There was a brother who was bodily handsome, but quite simple, whom a woman desired for a long time. She put on a pretence of holiness and even was able by clever and colourful pretexts to trick him into the secret silence of her room at night. There she conversed sweetly, hiding the poison of her concupiscence and thinking that he would initiate the evil action, since she thought he was already caught by passion for her, simply by the fact that he would speak alone with a woman at that time and place.
But "iniquity deceived itself," (80) since, although the brother was stupid to be there, he was sitting innocently and no impure thought crossed his mind. At last he realized the desire of that miserable woman and immediately jumped out of the place like a deer and escaped from her power.
All that happened in secret, but Master Jordan, of blessed memory, happened to be there at that time and someone troubled by a devil was brought for him to pray over. As the holy man commanded the demon to leave the creature of God, he answered that he would not leave unless thrown out by the man who was in the fire but was not burned. After saying this many times without naming anyone, those who heard were perplexed and did not know what to do. So they asked the Master, whom they knew was a holy, decent and just man, to visit the obsessed man a second and a third time. The third time he happened to bring that brother as his companion, and immediately he came in the room the demon went out shouting. When the brother heard from the Master what had gone on, he realized the meaning and told the Master secretly and with tears the whole story about himself.
4.4.2 (81) Regarding the venerable and holy brother Dominic of Spain, who at times accompanied Blessed Father Dominic, trustworthy witnesses relate that, because he had the clowns and harlots thrown out of the royal court, (82) one beautiful sinful woman was sent by the others to make a passionate proposition to him in the confessional. Reacting to her deceitfulness and impurity, he said, "For a long time I have not done such a thing, and now I am old and cold; I would have to be warmed by fire." So he told her to come back the next day and that he would prepare a secret place where they could do such an act. So he prepared a big fire and lay down in it, inviting her to lie down with him. When she saw that he had so much power that not only his body, but also his clothes showed no sign of burning, she repented and began shouting loudly, so that the miracle became known to many.
4.4.3 Finally, we heard from many that many novices, by the wall of chastity, avoided great dangers of this sort. One once met a very beautiful and tempting girl who offered to have sex with him and threatened him with death if he did not agree. He used the virtue of chastity to escape this danger to his soul and the virtue of wisdom to escape danger to his body and to the reputation of the Order. He told her, "My dearest lady, I am wearing an iron chain around my waist and a hair shirt. Let me go take them off and tomorrow I will come to you as you wish." So, deceiving her this way, he escaped the temptation of the devil.
4.5 The virtue of prayer
4.5.1 A German brother with a high reputation for a good life had, from his youth, a great reverence and love for the passion and wounds of Christ. Every day he said in honour of the five wounds, "We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because by your cross you have redeemed the world," prostrating after each one and saying the Our Father, that Christ would give him both fear and love of him. As he later told, Christ the Lord visibly appeared to him, allowing him to drink a wonderful sweetness from each of the wounds; that taste turned every earthly pleasure and consolation into bitterness for him.
4.5.2 The same brother greatly venerated the Blessed Virgin, honouring especially her heart which believed in Christ and loved him, her womb which bore him, her breasts which gave him milk, her rounded hands (83) which served him, and her bosom where he lay; these are the repositories of all virtues. Frequently he would make prostrations in honour of each of them, saying each time the Hail Mary while considering the virtues by which she merited to become the Mother of God, and asking her to obtain the same for himself; these are, respectively, faith, humility, charity, chastity, kindness and patience. The Blessed Virgin appeared to him one Saturday and offered him the virtues he was venerating and praying for, letting him sensibly perceive this.
After that the brother put off study, caught up all the time in a wonderful sweetness of prayer. Noticing this, the brothers often accused him of making himself useless for the Order by not studying. Then the brother asked the Lord to change some of that sweetness in prayer into knowledge so that he could honour him by being useful for souls. The Lord heard him and infused knowledge into his mind which he never had before, so that he now could preach well in German and in Latin, and was also good at counselling people.
4.5.3 A very devout brother in England, who was a lecturer and a preacher, was dining in the house of a soldier when suddenly it caught fire and the flames were rising high. Without water and not knowing what to do as the fire spread, his companion joined the family running around and shouting, while he prostrated in prayer and thereby squelched the fire without it leaving a trace. This brother, neither seeking glory nor hiding what could inspire others, wrote the story for the Master of the Order, but told no one else.
4.5.4 Two brothers were sent to a certain convent and joyfully accepted their assignment. While they were on the way they saw a storm coming and were very afraid, saying to one another, "Maybe God did not accept our assignment." As they could see no shelter to go to, one of them thought of the miracle that the Lord made for Blessed Dominic, keeping him and his companion dry in the midst of rain. Arousing his hope and turning to prayer, he made the sign of the cross against the threatening storm, and immediately it divided right and left and allowed them to go a whole league's journey untouched by a single drop, although they saw it pouring on both sides of them.
4.5.5 A Spanish soldier had taken the cross to go overseas, but delayed fulfilling his vow and was killed in a war. He appeared to his son carrying a very heavy cross and asked him to have mercy on him. His son, a capable and educated man, understanding that his father had been under the obligation of a vow to go on a crusade, vowed to do this for him. When he came to Bologna to set sail from Brindisi, he found some students he knew who had entered the Order of Preachers. As he visited with them he had to explain that his trip was to help his father. But they exhorted him to enter the Order, promising that he would do more for his father's soul that way, since he would truly be carrying the cross, and that the prayers of the brothers and the sacrifice of Christ on the altar would be the most efficacious way of bringing souls to eternal light and peace. Persuaded by his companions, he became a brother and began to serve Mass eagerly and devoutly, asking the priests to pray for the soul of his father.
At that time a very good brother went to Florence, where a demon, talking through a possessed man, talked of various events and deeds of men. One thing he said before a crowd was that the Preaching Brothers caused much harm to himself and his band by their preaching, bringing people to confession, praying and celebrating Mass, and that a Spanish soldier who was killed in war was freed from punishment by their Masses, and he told the story how his son made a vow, set off on a journey and entered the Order. Brother Albert, who heard this and did not know of what had happened, did not take the words of the demon seriously. Later he went back to Bologna and was sitting one day with the brothers, together with that young man who was a novice, and he heard a loud noise in the church when a possessed woman was brought to the altar of Blessed Dominic. That brought him to tell the story he had heard and seen in Florence. When the Spanish novice heard this, he rejoiced in spirit and thanked God and the brothers profusely, telling them in detail the state of his father and the reason for his trip etc.
4.5.6 Two Spanish brothers who finished studying theology at Paris were returning to their province and came to the region of Poitiers. Since they had been travelling from morning to evening, they were worn out and hungry. They were near a village inhabited by a few poor people. The brother who mostly felt fatigued wanted to go from door to door asking for food, but the other, who mostly felt hungry, wanted to go on to a better town further on, because if they ate too little they would faint on the way. The one who was more tired tried to console him, saying, "Brother, isn't God able to feed us in a little poor village?" "I know that he is able, but that is not the way he works." "Dearest brother, do not be afraid, because the Lord will provide us the little that we need in this modest village."
As they were talking this way, a rich and noble Castilian lady from the town of Saint Maxentius came riding along the road with her son and many attendants. Seeing the brothers so wearied, she very kindly told her son, "Get down and, for the love of God and of me, refresh those preaching brothers." At her command, he came down and brought them an excellent meal with the best fish that had been prepared for her mother; he also gave them wine, cheese, eggs, fresh bread and other fish in abundance, and constantly pressed the brothers to take it all with joy, since they were the poor of God and had to work hard, and in other places might hardly find anything. After they had been waited on so wonderfully by many devoted youths, the elder brother said to the other, "Let us ask the Lord to guard the young man who served us so devoutly and bring him to eternal life." So they knelt down, said the Veni Creator Spiritus with the Our Father and prayer, said goodbye to the youth and went away, often commending him to the Lord.
Some time later one of them was coming from Spain to the General Chapter at Paris and at the convent of Poitiers found the youth who had already become a brother. Amazed, he said to the prior, "Where did that young brother come from?" Hearing that he was the son of the Castilian lady, he called him and said, "Brother, do you remember how, at your mother's order, you fed two brothers coming from Paris in such and such a place?" "I remember very well and thank God, because by their prayers the Lord led me to this Order." "I am one of those who frequently prayed for you to have a happy life with a happy end; so, dearest brother, try to persevere, and you will certainly reach a happy end."
Brother Giles of Portugal wrote this, a man of great holiness who was prior provincial in Spain and was outstanding in reputation, education and authority; he was one of the two brothers.
4.5.7 (84) In the convent at Metz, a brother who was devoted to God and assiduous at prayer one night after Matins was meditating on Christ's sufferings and he saw with the eyes of his mind Christ as if just taken down from the cross. He prostrated first at the wounds of his feet, then at those of each hand and prayed long and devoutly, thinking of the benefits of Christ's passion. Then he put his mouth at the wound on Christ's side, like a child sucking its mother's breasts. At this point he slept off, and when he awoke he found blood in his mouth and more partly coagulated outside his mouth.
4.6 Against neglect of the Liturgy of the Hours
4.6.1 In England there was a brother named David, a very religious and devout man. During his last illness, in a rapture he came to the scene of God's judgement and heard the Blessed Virgin complaining about those who said their Office hurriedly and irreverently. Her son, our Lord Jesus Christ, answered her, "Let us send this man to his brothers to warn them not to do the same." Coming out of his ecstasy, the sick brother sat up in bed and told what he had heard, urging his brothers to say the Office of the Queen of heaven, Blessed Mary, with greater devotion. After saying that, he died.
4.6.2 Also in the English province, when Brother Richard was already in a death coma, he suddenly shouted, "Woe, woe to you who say the Divine Office carelessly, because the souls in purgatory are complaining that you fulfil this obligation towards them late and with a distracted mind." Later he added, "Oh, the Blessed Virgin complained to her Son before me that the little amount of her Office that you do, you rush and say without devotion, and this is worth next to nothing. But I heard such music in heaven that no one on earth can imagine." After saying this, he slept in the Lord.
4.6.3 A brother of good character who had long been in the Order told that while the brothers were saying Matins of the Blessed Virgin, he saw our Lady herself accompanied by two girls at the door of the dormitory saying: "Strongly, strongly, my strong men!" He told this to the prior, so that he would encourage the brothers to love the Blessed Virgin and say her Office more devoutly.
4.7 The virtue of confession
4.7.1 In the convent of Langres there was a brother who was a virgin since birth and, because of the purity he kept in the world and in the cloister, did not go to confession two or three times a week like the other brothers, but only once or twice a month. One night he had a vision of being dragged before God's judgement. On top of a high mountain he saw Christ sitting with the Blessed Virgin at her side, with the whole world in the valley and everyone forced to come one by one before the judge. Some were sent to the place of rest, others to the place of punishment, and others to purgatory. When he was brought before the judge, he was sent to purgatory. Then the Blessed Virgin interceded for him and said, "My Son and my Lord, why are you sending him there? He is a delicate youth and cannot endure such pain; besides he is pure in body and belongs to an Order that does you and me much service." Christ answered, "I am doing this because he rarely went to confession, but at your prayers I will spare him." When the brother came back to himself he corrected this negligence and told the story to many brothers.
4.7.2 After Compline a brother was lying prostrate praying before one of the altars at Bologna, when the devil grabbed him and dragged him by his feet back into the middle of the church. As he shouted, more than thirty brothers, who were praying in different parts of the church, came out and saw him being dragged, but saw no one dragging him; they tried to hold him but could not. They were terrified and filled their hands with holy water to throw on him, but it did him no good. One older brother who threw himself onto the brother was also dragged about. After much effort the brother was brought before the altar of Blessed Nicholas; there he confessed to Master Reginald a mortal sin he had never mentioned before, and was freed from the devil's power.
The wonderful aspect of this incident is that the silence which is kept after Compline was so strictly observed, that during all this commotion, no one spoke a word.
4.7.3 A brother from the province of Rome, who used to enjoy listening to and singing secular songs in the world and never though of confessing such a vanity, became gravely sick and was continually hearing those songs in his ear and brain; they did not give him pleasure as before, but great annoyance and pain. So one day he got up from bed, and with great difficulty went to the bed of his prior, who was in the same hall; he told him of his trouble and humbly confessed those vanities. As he was absolved, all that noise which was echoing in his brain completely stopped.
4.7.4 A brother of great authority in the Order and well known in the province of Lombardy for his wonderful life, told how, when he was a novice at the time of Blessed Dominic, (85) he had slept a little after Matins before the altar and heard a voice telling him: "Go and shave your head again." He woke up and understood this as a warning to go to confession again and better describe all the circumstances of his sin. So he prostrated before Blessed Dominic and contritely confessed everything to him with greater attention than he did before. Later in a moment of quiet he saw an angel descending from heaven and holding a greatly decorated golden crown in his hands; he came near and put it on his head. When he came to his senses, the brother was very much consoled and gave thanks to God.
4.7.5 In the convent of Narbonne, a sick brother wanted to confess to the prior, and the prior said to him, "Dearest brother, wait for me until after the procession, since today is the feast of the Assumption of our Lady, and I will come right back." The brother replied, "I want to confess now, because I will take part in this procession with the angels and the Blessed Virgin, if the Lord agrees." So he confessed and shortly afterwards slept in the Lord.
4.7.6 In the convent of Lausanne there was a novice who made a complete confession, and the night before going to communion saw in a dream the devil standing before him and saying, "You think you have confessed well, but on this paper there are many sins which make you belong to me." When he wanted to see the paper the devil would not show it to him but fled with the paper. But as the devil was going he tripped on a pot of holy water that was there and was forced to drop the paper. The brother eagerly grabbed it and found that there were really some sins on it that he had not confessed. He then woke up and, remembering them, went to confess them. Although the devil did this to throw him into depression, God, who is kind and good, turned this experience into good. His confessor, a holy and trustworthy man, told this story to the Master of the Order.
4.7.7 (86) Two brothers from the convent of Toledo were sent on a preaching mission. With the Lord's help and confirmation of their words, many sinners had the fortune to become disturbed at the situation they were in, and humbly came to confess their sins and be delivered from the traps of the devil. Among them, a priest was touched by the mercy of God and invited the brothers for dinner, so that he could ask them advice for his soul. But because of the long lines of those going to confession and his own occupations, he had to wait until the third day for his own confession. The night before, as he slept, the enemy of the human race stood by him and terribly warned: "O traitor, now you want to escape from my hands. You want to go to confession. You will not do so, and will not escape, because I will choke you." He then grabbed his throat and tried to choke him, saying, "Traitor, you will not have confession before you die." The priest suffered in this way for a good part of the night and was shouting so loud that his servant girl, who slept in another room, was awakened and came running to him and asked him what he was shouting so terribly about. In a state of shock, he told her what he was suffering, and she said, "Then, my brother, do not put off your confession any longer." In the morning he went to one of the brothers, told him the whole story of what he experienced, made a general confession and undertook his penance, which was to finance a suitable soldier to go in his place on a crusade against the Muslims.
4.8 Those who entered the Order because of the vanity of worldly joy
Master Roland of Cremona, who was mentioned in the first book, on one feast day put on new and expensive scarlet clothes and went to dinner with his companions; he spent the whole day in games, vanities and other occasions of vain glory. Coming back in the evening, he was touched inwardly by God and said, "Where is the feast that we kept and where has all that joy gone?" Seeing that all worldly joy swiftly turns into sorrow, the next day he entered the Order, where he served the Lord for many years and was famous for holiness, learning and teaching.
4.9 Those who entered because of the holiness of the brothers
4.9.1 A prominent priest of Paris who lived near the brothers was lying in bed on a Saturday night and heard the brothers loudly singing Matins in honour of the Blessed Virgin. Inspired by God, he began to think and blame himself, saying, "What a miserable man am I, lying here while they are praising God." So as soon as morning came he entered the Order with much devotion.
4.9.2 While the brothers at Bologna were vigorously flogging themselves after Compline, a light-headed and mischievous student peeked at them through an opening. Instead of being inspired, he went more into sin. Going away he told a friend, "I am coming from the most stupid men in the whole world, those preachers who beat themselves like donkeys and wound themselves all over." His companion was touched deep in his heart and asked him to show him where he watched. The next evening he led him to the spot and said, "Do you see what those stupid men are doing?" The other watched carefully, not from curiosity or scorn, but from devotion. Impressed, he said to himself, "If these holy men punish and flog themselves for God's sake, what should I, a sinner, do?" So, enlightened by God, he entered the Order because of this.
4.10 Those who entered because of the power of the word of God
4.10.1 Brother Reginald, of holy memory, formerly deacon at Orléans, came to Bologna to preach, and his fervent dedication to this task had attracted many prominent clergymen and academic masters. When Master Moneta, who was then well known throughout Lombardy as a lecturer in Arts, saw so many being converted, he began to fear that he might be captured by one of Brother Reginald's sermons. So he avoided Reginald as much as he could and warned all his students by word and example to stay away from his preaching.
But on the feast of Saint Stephen, (87) when the students invited the Master to the sermon, he could not excuse himself because of lessons or anything else. So he said to them, "Let us go first to Saint Proculus to hear Mass." They went and heard not just one, but three Masses. Then, at their insistence, he said, "Let us now go to the sermon." He came and found him still preaching, and the great church was so full that he could not enter. Standing to listen outside the church, he was captured by the first words he heard, which were "Look! I can see heaven thrown open" (Acts 7:55). He continued, "See, right now before your eyes the heavens are open for you to enter. Anyone who wants can enter through the open doors. Those miserable, negligent people who close their heart, mouth and hands to God should see and be afraid that the kingdom of heaven might be closed against them and they cannot enter. So, dearest brothers, why do you delay? See, the heavens are open."
After this sermon Master Moneta went to him, struck by the word of God, told him of his state and occupations, and then and there made profession in his hands. Since he had many commitments, Brother Reginald gave him permission to remain in his secular dress for a year. That too was a profitable decision, because, just as Master Moneta had previously turned many away from Brother Reginald's preaching, now he not only brought them to his preaching but also led many into the Order. Each time he brought one into the Order it was as if he were making his own profession again. He finally took up life in the Order, and it would be hard to describe how he excelled in holiness, learning, teaching and refutation of heresy.
4.10.2 A brother who long held a high post in the Order had, (88) as a young boy, been sent to study at Paris, and there saw the Order of Preaching Brothers emerge. He was also aware of the Carthusians, some of whom were frequent guests in his father's house. So he prayed to the Lord to let him die either in the Carthusian Order or in that of the Preaching Brothers. Although by the gift of divine grace he avoided many sins, and to assure his salvation sometimes secretly wore a hair shirt, gave some alms, attended the Divine Office on feast days, and almost every day attended the church of the Blessed Virgin and always eagerly listened to the sermons, nevertheless neither the preaching of Master Jordan, which moved so many, nor that of any other preacher could induce him to enter the Order. Later, however, when he was a regent-master in Arts and was qualified in Canon Law, he would some mornings attend lectures in theology, but kept this secret from his friends.
One feast day he went to hear Vespers in his parish church of Saint Peter of Bobus. When the students and others left, he remained for the vigil Office of the Dead. When it came time to read the lessons, the chaplain of that church, who was a good but rather simple man, started in this way, "My dearest brother, are you a member of my parish?" "Sir, I live at such an address." "Good, then you are a member of my parish and I want to fulfil my obligations towards you." He continued, "Do you know what you promised the Lord in baptism?" What did I promise?" You promised to renounce Satan and all his pomp. When the priest who baptized you asked you that question, the one who carried you spoke for you and answered for you, saying 'I do renounce him.'" "But why are you telling me this?" "Dearest brother, because there are many students who torture themselves and endure much, studying for a long time in Paris, but the whole aim of their study is only the pomp of Satan. They say in their hearts: When you study at Paris and become a master in this or that faculty, when you go back to your land you will be famous and considered a great clergyman; you will be honoured by all, be given endowments, high posts etc. What is that but the pomp of Satan? My dear brother, avoid that intention in your study, and see how many great masters and clergymen leave the world and enter the convent of Saint Jacques, aware that almost everything that men in the world go after is the pomp of Satan."
When the priest had said this, after the first lesson, the clergyman began the response: "Woe to me, Lord, because I have sinned too much in my life; what should I do, miserable man that I am? Where can I flee but to you, my God." Thus the words of the priest from one side and the singing of the clergyman on the other were like two tubes entering his heart, which stirred him to an unusual state of reflection and many tears. When he left the church, wherever he went and wherever he stayed, those words stayed fixed within him, especially the phrase of the responsory, "What should I do, miserable man that I am, where can I flee?" As these words continually turned in his heart, he heard a voice in his soul answer, "You have no place to flee except to Saint Jacques, the convent of the Preaching Brothers."
Then he turned in prayer to the Blessed Virgin, as he so often did, and was given such a grace of contrition, devout shedding of tears and unusual feeling in his heart, that the world seemed all the more distasteful to him. So after a few days he went to some brothers he knew at Saint Jacques and arranged with them his entry into the Order after he paid some debts. In the meantime he spoke with the lord Hugh, who was later made a cardinal, who was his master, and revealed to him his intention, trusting that he would not impede him, because he was a good man and already a bachelor in theology. When Hugh heard this, he thanked God and encouraged him, saying, "Master, I want you to know that I have had the same intention, but I cannot enter right away, because I must finish some business. But enter securely and be certain that I will follow you."
So on the feast of Blessed Andrew he himself was received, (89) and lord Hugh forty days later on the feast of the Chair of Blessed Peter. (90)
Many still living in the town of our brother tell that when his birth was announced to his father, who was then praying in the church for his wife who was in labour, he was so filled with joy that he said he was never so happy about any son or daughter, although he had many, as he was with this one, the last of them all.
An older brother of his who studied Canon law in Bologna and Paris and loved him very much was moved by his example and entered the Carthusian Order, thinking that it suited him better than our own. So the prayer our brother made before he entered was doubly answered, since he entered our Order and his brother, who was one in heart with him, entered the Carthusians, where he lived a very holy life.
4.10.3 When Master Jordan, of blessed memory, was preaching at Vercelli, where there was a school of the Order at that time, in a few days he led thirteen important and educated clergymen into the Order. Present in that town was Walter of Germany, a Regent-Master in Arts and an expert medical doctor, who was receiving a high salary for lecturing. Hearing that Master Jordan had come, he told his companions and students, "Beware of going to his preaching, and never listen to him speaking, because he polishes his words like a harlot to catch men." But the wonderful thing that the Lord did was, while he was trying to keep others back from Jordan, he was the first captured by his sermon, or rather God's sermon. And when he was tempted by miserable sensuality to stay back, he clenched both hands and struck his sides like a boxer, saying to himself, "You will go there; surely you will go there." So he went and was received, and became an example of salvation for many.
4.10.4 There was also at Vercelli an important clergyman who was an expert in Canon Law. When he heard that some of his student friends had entered the Order, he left the books that he had open before him, forgetting even to close them, abandoned everything else that he had in his house, and ran alone like a madman to the brothers. When he met a friend who asked him why he was running alone like this without stopping, he just said, "I am going to God." He came to the place where they were receiving brothers, since they did not yet have a house there, and found Master Jordan and the brothers gathered. He threw off the silk mantle he was wearing and prostrated in their midst like a drunken man, and all he could say was, "I belong to God." Master Jordan, without any examination or waiting for answers, replied, "Because you belong to God, in his name I consecrate you to him." He then got up and put the habit on him. One who was present and saw and heard everything told this and the preceding story.
4.10.5 There were two students at Paris who said the Office of the Blessed Virgin every day. (91) One of them intended to enter the Order of Preachers and was trying to persuade his companion to do the same. One day, while they were saying Vespers of the Blessed Virgin, the one who did not have the intention was suddenly touched with so much devotion and began shedding such a flood of tears that he could not help himself. In this devotion he felt his heart transformed for the better and, when the Office was finished, he said to his companion, "Now I will not oppose you, since I will join that good society to which you so often invited me." So they agreed to attend Matins that night in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. It was the second Sunday of Advent. After hearing Matins devoutly, they discussed which part of the Office affected them most. One of them said, "I was very moved by the commentary of Blessed Gregory on the Gospel, 'There will be signs.'" (92) The other said, "I was very consoled and moved during the responsory, 'He will teach us his ways', especially by the verse which says, 'Come, let us go up the mountain of the Lord, to the mountain of the God of Jacob.' (93) It seems to me that the Lord is literally inviting us to enter the house of Saint Jacques, which is God's house and located on a mountain." So they entered and lived a very holy life.
4.10.6 Brother Peter of Lucrin was a man of great wisdom and authority. When he was still in the world he often thought of entering the Order but, because of a certain kind of wisdom that he had, kept putting it off, deliberating and thinking much about it, weighing every consideration. One evening while he was saying Compline of the Blessed Virgin, he came to the Psalm (13), "How long will you forget me, Lord, Forever? How long will you turn your face from me?" and then the following verse, "How long must I put doubts in my soul?" He was then suddenly touched so deeply in his heart that he broke into tears and could say no more, but fell prostrate and gave vent to a flood of tears, turning in his heart and thinking about just one thing, "How long must I put doubts in my soul?... How long will my enemy laugh at me? Look at me, answer me, Lord my God! Enlighten my eyes; turn away the sleep of death." Passing the night that way after finishing Compline, he put aside all delays and quickly entered the Order.
4.11 Those who entered to avoid present or future suffering
4.11.1 Brother Guerric, who had spent a long time in different places studying logic, the quadrivium, natural science and medicine and later in the Order was Regent-Master in theology at Paris, told what made him enter the Order. Once he heard read in the church, "Adam lived 130 years and then died" (Genesis 5:3) and the continuation of the passage which mentions many who lived a very long age. He was amazed, frightened and touched in his heart, and said, "My God, all die, even those who lived so long. What should we do? We also will die." Touched by this useful and holy thought, he entered the Order. How holy his life was and how useful and clear his teaching was is known to the whole Order and the Church of God.
4.11.2 There was a brother at Florence named Octavian, a man of a noble family, but more noble in his character, devout in prayer and accomplished in preaching. He gave this story of his conversion: When he was studying at Bologna, he happened to attend a funeral, and as the corpse was being lifted from the stretcher to be put into the grave, he saw the head hanging down, soon to be buried under the earth as an inanimate, vile and stinking thing. He was touched and inspired by God to remember death with fear. So he entered the Order and finished his life there.
4.11.3 A very noble brother and the nephew of a cardinal was send by his uncle the cardinal to Paris. There he was persuaded by Master Jordan, of blessed memory, to enter the Order, but was prevented by a prominent clergyman who made him promise that he would not enter without consulting him again. (94) One day, with the permission of Master Jordan, he went there to tell him that he wanted to enter; Master Jordan said that he trusted in God that the man would not stop him. After searching for him for a long time, the brother found him dead, laid out in the middle of the choir of an abbey in Paris. The man's sudden death made him all the more eager to carry out what he had planned, and he did so devoutly.
He was so strong and fervent in his novitiate that, when given a chance to reply to his lecturer before many brothers, he so confused him with his answers, in spite of his youth, that the lecturer went away dumbfounded.
At the insistence of the brother's uncle, Pope Gregory summoned the boy to come to him, sending letters to prelates everywhere he might be found. But, foreseeing this, the brother fled with a companion to different places in France and Germany, hiding so that he could not be found and that no one would incur excommunication because of him. No one could adequately relate all the inconveniences and deprivations he suffered up to the time of his profession. It was all the more wonderful that at times he was in the same house as the messengers who were looking for him with Papal letters and decrees, but could not find him.
<4.12>4.12 Those who entered because of special private revelations
4.12.1 A teacher of grammar at Novara, in Italy, (95) had vowed to enter the Order of Preachers and had fixed a certain day with the brothers at Milan. But, dissuaded by students and worldly vanity, he went to another town to teach there and avoid meeting the brothers. But the very day he made this evil agreement, he lost his sight and remained three days that way. At last, after recognizing and confessing his sin, he received his sight back and entered the Order, where he devoutly remained.
4.12.2 There was a student at Bologna who had a very privileged style of life. Nevertheless a brother three times had a vision telling him that this student would enter the Order if he were so advised. So the brother went to the subprior, who was from the student's country, and told him what he had seen. But he answered, "Someone with plenty of wealth and fine things can hardly avoid the vices of adolescence."
When the brother insisted that everything is possible to God, the subprior thought that the matter might be from God, and went to the house of the student. When he entered the room and saw his very fine bed and wardrobe, he was shocked and did not want to say anything to him. The student himself was afraid that he was going to try to entice him into the Order; so he said, "Brother, if you want to say anything to me, I do not want to hear it unless you promise me that you will say nothing about God." The subprior answered, "Let us talk about our country and parents, and at the end just a couple of words about God." "OK, but be careful not to say more than that." After talking intimately for a long time, the subprior got up and said, "I am going now, but let me say the couple of words that I promised. Do you know, sir, what kind of bed they will have in the next world who do not repent in this?" "No." "Isaiah the Prophet tells us (14:11): "Under you is a mattress of maggots, over you a blanket of worms." After explaining these words, he took leave of him and returned to the convent.
The student continued to meditate deeply on those maggots and worms and could not think of anything else. He could not remove the thought even by play, or conversation or laughing, but the idea penetrated deeper and deeper into him. Unable to endure the bitterness that he felt from this, after a few days he entered the Order, preferring to spend the rest of his life on a hard and poor bed so that he might be carried to heaven by the angels, rather than lie comfortably in his bed here and later on be buried in hell with the constant biting of maggots and worms, the thought of which he could not endure here even for a few days.
4.12.3 Master Jordan, of happy memory, told of a handsome and delicate noble youth who, after entering the Order of Preachers, was urged by an important and educated friend of his parents to leave the Order. The man told him, "It is better for you to quit now without sin and notoriety than later on when you, who are so tender, can no longer endure such a strict Order."
The youth answered, "The reason that you bring for me to leave was the very motive for my entering the Order. For I thought that if I am unable to endure any severity in the world, how could I endure those intolerable and unchanging pains in hell? So I resolved to endure this harshness in the present life so that I may not suffer eternal harshness in the next. I am poor with the poor here, so that I may be rich in the kingdom of heaven.
4.12.4 Brother James, once prior of the Preaching Brothers at Bologna, many times told the brothers that an important lawyer, who was his close friend, had a very dear companion who was sick and about to die. The lawyer asked the sick man, and he promised, that within thirty days he would come to him. He died, and on the thirtieth day appeared to him. Asked how he was, he said that he was in Purgatory. Asked about the pain there, he answered, "If the mountains and everything in the visible world were on fire, they could not compare with the heat I endure." Asked if there is any relief in Purgatory, he said, "At times we do, but souls suffer great deprivation because of the wars between the Pope and the Emperor, (96) because many suffrages are not said because of the interdict, whereas every day many souls would fly out of Purgatory if Masses were faithfully said." Asked whether peace would come, he said, "There will be no peace, because the sins of men merit this war." The lawyer then asked him, "What about my own state?" "You are in a bad state and office." "When what should I do?" "Flee quickly from the world." "Where shall I flee to?" "To the Order of Preachers." And suddenly he disappeared. Touched at heart, he came to Brother James, told him the whole story and, giving away his belongings, entered the Order and became a brother.
4.12.5 There was a dean in a certain city of France who was renowned for his knowledge, noble birth, wealth and power. Struck with illness by the Lord, he began thinking of the salvation of his soul and said to himself, "Oh, Lord my God, what can I do to be saved? To whom shall I turn? Whose help should I seek? My Lord God, show me." He was so intent on this thought that he could not say or think of anything else.
After spending a large part of the night in this prayer, as he was half asleep, he saw Christ the Lord saying to him, "If you want to be saved, join my servants." When he asked who they were, Christ answered, "In the Order of Preachers." So in the morning he called a priest to bring him the body of Christ. Many of his friends gathered, the family wept and his worldly friends were afraid. Before this crowd, when the priest wanted to give him the body of the Lord, he said, "I have had the body of Christ brought here, so that in his presence, before whom no one must lie, I may tell what happened to me this night." After telling the story, he added, "Since Christ gave me this advice, I do not want to delay any longer." So he immediately sent for the brothers, who gave him the habit of the Order without delay. While his friends and relatives were weeping aloud and tried to dissuade him from this step, he shouted back, "Out, out! This crowd is looking for my property, not for me." So he was given the habit and carried to the house of the brothers. After a short while he ended his life's race before the brothers gathered around him and praying, and slept in the Lord. The brothers were much consoled by him, because beforehand he was not a friend of the Order; his conversion also was a strong example for others, and he left the brothers many books which they badly needed.
4.12.6 In a certain city in France an important expert in law, who had every comfort and was much involved in politics, happened to fall sick. Before the dean of that church and some canons, he had his books, which were many, and very many silver vessels brought before him so that he could make a will.
Before he could do this, he fell into a light sleep. While they were patiently waiting, so that the rest might make him feel better, he suddenly awoke and said, "Bring the boat to the shore." They commented, "You are speaking out of your mind." "Not at all; I know what I am saying." When asked what he had seen, he said, "I was at sea in a small boat when some black pigs tried to drown me. When I shouted to the Lord, I saw on the shore two men standing with white capuce-scapulars and black cappas. With tears I asked their help, and they said, 'Come, and don't worry.' They stretched their hands and drew me to the shore. Then I woke up and told you what you have heard."
When they commented that it was a good dream, he said, "It was not a dream, but the truth. Those Preaching Brothers will soon come here and receive me into their company and free me from the danger of the world." As he was speaking, two brothers entered the room where he was. He rejoiced when he saw them and, joining his hands with great devotion, asked them to receive him. After they took counsel with the brothers, they did so. He stayed with them very devoutly and after a few days, making his confession with great confidence, he died.
Those who were present told us all the details of this story.
4.12.7 Brother Henry of Germany, a holy man and good at preaching to the clergy and the people, gave this reason for his entry into the Order: He had an uncle who was a soldier in the town of Montmartre who provided for his food and studies at Paris. The uncle died in Germany and appeared to him, saying, "To relieve the pains which torment me, join the crusade which is now being preached and go overseas. When you come back from Jerusalem, you will find at Paris the new Order of Preachers, which you shall join. Do not be afraid of their poverty, nor despise them for their fewness, because they will grow into a large nation for the salvation of many." So, after taking the cross and fulfilling his vow, when he returned to Paris he found the few brothers who had come from Toulouse and had just opened a house; without any hesitation he joined them. Afterwards his uncle appeared to him thanking him for helping him to be delivered from Purgatory.
4.12.8 Brother Peter of Aubenas, who was a prior and a lecturer in Provence and lived a holy and successful life in the Order, gave this story of how he came into the Order: When he was practising medicine in the town of Genoa and had already agreed to enter the Order, the Poor Men of Lyons, who are also called Waldensians, so confused his mind that he was in doubt which group to follow. He was more inclined to the Waldensians because they showed more outward piety and signs of humility and virtue, whereas he thought the brothers were too joyful and outwardly ostentatious.
One evening while he was worrying about this and did not know what to do, he knelt down and cried heavily with all his heart, asking God in his mercy to reveal to him what he, in that state of doubt, should do. Sleeping off for a while, he saw himself going down a road with a dense forest on the left, where he saw the Waldensians each alone with sad faces; on the right there was a beautiful wall, long and tall, which he followed until he came to a gate. Looking in, he saw a beautiful field, landscaped with trees and flowers; in the middle there were many Preaching Brothers gathered in a circle, with happy faces looking up to heaven; one of them held the body of Christ in his uplifted hands. He was very pleased with this sight and wanted to enter, but an angel who guarded the gate said, "You cannot enter now." After crying bitterly, he woke up and found himself covered with tears and felt his heart cleared of its former sadness. A few days later, after concluding some affairs that detained him, he entered the Order of Preachers.
I heard this story from his mouth as well as many other stories. He was a very contemplative man and the Lord revealed many things to him about the Order.
4.12.9 In Tuscany, in the diocese of Florence, there was a youth who, from his early years, wanted to serve the Lord. Finding him simple and well disposed, the heretics seduced him and got him to join them, since he believed many good things about them because of their appearance of holiness. One day he and another heretic of the rank of the Perfect were looking towards the sun and the latter said, "See how Lucifer warms us!" The youth answered in horror, "What are you saying?" "Don't you know yet that the devil made these visible things?" The youth was dumbfounded at this and called the elders of the sect and said, "See, I have been with you for twelve years and no one yet told me that the devil created all visible things. If you can prove this to me according to our Scripture, I am prepared to agree, but if I prove the contrary to you, you must abandon this error and agree with the truth." So a great disputation took place among them and, since they could not prove anything, they went away from him in shame.
He then shut himself up in a room and began to cry very much, shedding floods of tears which are an acceptable sacrifice to God. After praying to God for a long time to show him the right way, it occurred to him to look in the New Testament for the way of salvation. After saying the Our Father with many tears, he inserted a knife between the pages at random and opened the book in the name of Christ and found the point of the knife on the words "Leave them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind" (Matthew 15:14). With the certainty of heavenly light he saw that the Lord was telling him to abandon those blind people, since the way of true salvation was not with them.
But to solve one remaining doubt, he said, "Kind Lord, you have taught me what to flee from; now teach me where to go. For the Jews, Muslims, Waldensians and Romans all say that the way of salvation is with them." So he prayed again and once more put his knife into the book. Opening it, he found it pointing to the passage "The scribes and the Pharisees occupy the chair of Moses. You must therefore do and observe what they tell you; but do not be guided by what they do" (Matthew 23:2-3). Seeing that this best applied to the teachers of the Roman Church, he was then and there confirmed in the true faith.
After a short time he entered our Order and spent a long period of time bravely defending the faith by disputations, preaching, exposing heretics and confirming Catholics in their faith.
4.12.10 The brothers had persuaded a young student of Tuscany to enter the Order, but his father held him back by many words and by the excessive sorrow he showed when another son of his had become a brother the year before. The youth's heart was moved to pray that the Lord would show him his will, whether to go along with his father or to enter the Order.
One night in a dream he saw a beautiful house that had no roof but the sky, and in the middle of it was a ladder going up to the sky. He also saw that the souls of all who were to be saved came to that house, and among them the soul of his brother. When he saw all those souls go up the ladder, together with that of his brother, he wished eagerly to go up himself, but could no move. So crying and wailing, he said, "Oh, if I had entered the Order of Preachers, I would now be going up to heaven with my brother." After repeating this, weeping and praying, he woke up and know that the Lord was calling him. Immediately, leaving everything, including his father, he flew into the Order.
4.12.11 In 1252 a regent-master of Arts in Salamanca in Spain, where there was a school of the Order, one Sunday morning brought many students to the house of the brothers to hear the sermon. Suddenly there was a very heavy rain, so that he could not easily leave. So the subprior of the house invited the master to dinner, but he refused. In that case he lent him the cappa of one brother so that he would not spoil his clothes. When he put it on, the subprior said before many students and teachers in the chapter room, "I declare today, and you are all witnesses, that Master Nicholas has taken our habit." The master saw the joke and mockingly agreed. He went out of the house with loud laughter and talk and the whole day went through the streets and to the houses of the students wearing that cappa.
That night he was struck with a severe fever that made him and the doctors very much afraid for his life, while he turned his prayers to God in fear. Then he heard a voice telling him, "Do you think that I consider only the preachers' persons worthy of reverence and honour, and not also their habit and clothes? Because you did not wear it reverently, know that unless you pray you will not get away unpunished." He heard this voice three times audibly and not in a dream, he said. So in his fear he summoned the brothers, and the habit that he wore in derision he now received with reverence and much devotion, for the glory of God, his own salvation and the inspiration of many. All this the brother himself wrote to the Master of the Order.
4.12.12 A brother of extraordinary reputation and high standing in the Order, (97) as a youth studied at Padua. There, because of the advice of the brothers and especially the preaching of Master Jordan, he often thought of entering the Order, but could not make up his mind. His uncle, who was there, opposed the idea and forced him to swear that for a certain period of time he would not go to the house of the brothers. After this time elapsed he went frequently to the brothers and indicated his desire, but fear of not persevering made him often waver.
One night he saw in a dream that he had entered the Order and shortly after left it. When he woke up he was very happy that he had not entered, saying in his mind, "Now I see that my fear would be realized if I ever entered." The same day he attended a sermon of Master Jordan, who spoke, among other things, about the temptations of the devil and how he subtly deceives some. He said, "There are some who decide to leave the world and enter the Order, but the devil gives them the impression in dreams that they will enter and then leave and find themselves wandering in brambly clothing (98) alone or with their friends; he does this to make them afraid of entering, under the guise that they will not persevere, or if they have already entered, to terrify and disturb them."
The youth was astounded, and after the sermon went to him and said, "Master, who revealed my heart to you?" and he told him about all his previous thoughts and his dream. The Master then, with a sure confidence coming from God, strengthened him in many ways against such a temptation. At his words, the youth was completely converted and delayed no longer his entry into the Order. The brother himself often told this story.
4.12.13 A dean in Flanders was often warned by an older brother of the Order to renounce his worldly way of life and enter the Order. But he was afraid that he could not take the unsatisfying food, since he had long lived a delicate life, and could not go on foot, since he was fat, and could not even go half a mile without a horse; all this kept him back from entering the Order.
Weighing these matters, he often called on the Lord, and in a dream saw a table with white bread placed before him; he was told that he could live on this. He also saw himself enter the choir of the brothers, where they were all in white, and each of them offered him a beautiful container with spicy food. Another night he saw himself about to travel through deep snow and was very much afraid, but then saw a straight and clear path going smoothly through it.
Advised by the Lord through these images, he entered the Order and, as I heard from the brothers of his convent, the Lord gave him great strength to fast, to sustain the labour of travelling and to endure other difficult things for Christ. The brother himself and his confessor, who led him into the Order, secretly told me all of this.
4.12.14 A brother, who was a religious man and master of theology at Paris, (99) had been a student at Bologna when Brother Guerric was lecturing there. He and many other brothers tried to induce him to enter the Order, but he became more adamantly opposed every day. When Good Friday came and he went to hear the Office at another church, because he was afraid that if he went to the brothers they might push him towards the Order, and on such a day of deep religious sentiments he might not be able to refuse. He opened the Psalm book and right away met the verse (7:13), "If you do not convert, he will sharpen his sword, draw and aim his bow." (100) Taking these words as sent to him by God, he was suddenly deeply shaken; he closed the book and went straight to Brother Guerric and, without any introduction, said in a drunken-like state, "Brother Guerric, do not delay." While Guerric was wondering what he meant, the man added, "Ring the bell for the chapter." Then Guerric understood and hurried to have the bell rung. The man was received, while all admired and praised God for the very wonderful and quick conversion of a man who did not delay a month or a day and did not even return to his house. All this was related by the brother himself.
4.13 Those who entered because of special devotion to and inspiration from Blessed Mary
4.13.1 Brother Tancred, who was mentioned in the life of Blessed Father Dominic and was once prior in Rome, had been a soldier in the court of the emperor. He said that one day, while he was at Bologna, he was thinking of his dangerous state of life and prayed with his whole heart to the Blessed Virgin to direct him to salvation. In a dream he saw her telling him, "Come into my Order." When he awoke, he prayed hard again to the Blessed Virgin and then slept off again. Two men in the habit of the Preachers appeared to him, one of them an old man who said to him, "You are asking the Blessed Virgin to direct you to salvation; come to us and you will be saved." When he woke up and did not find the habit of the Order, since he had never seen such brothers, he thought he was deluded by his dream. In the morning he asked his host to bring him to the church to hear Mass. He was taken to the church of Blessed Nicholas, where the Preaching Brothers had newly come. When he entered the cloister, two brothers met him, one of whom was Brother Richard, an old man and the prior, whom he recognized right away as the one who appeared to him that night. After disposing of his property, he entered the Order there.
4.13.2 A young man of Burgundy often asked the Blessed Virgin fervently to direct his way and give him the grace of coming to the order most pleasing to her. He said with special devotion the versicle: "Show me the road I must travel, because to you I have raised my mind" (Psalm 143:8). He had the intention of entering another order, when he learned by inspiration that the prayers he had for a long time poured out to the Blessed Virgin were directing him to the Order of Preachers. He was especially helped by a holy and educated master who advised him that he could rightly abandon his other intention if he joined the Preachers, who were more necessary to the Church of God. So he entered the Order as our Lady had directed him and, having been devoted enough to her before, now became so much more devoted as he sensed her special favour towards him. One night while he was resting, he saw Blessed Mary with two virgins coming to him with the sweetest smell. He got up to see if this was true and not just a vision, and heard a voice distinctly saying to him, "Persevere as you have so well begun." And he was much consoled.
4.13.3 Brother Henry, of holy memory, the first prior of Cologne, (101) was advised to enter the Order by his companion, Master Jordan, who had himself vowed to enter. While he was spending the night in the church of Notre Dame at Paris, he asked our Lady to direct his way. When it seemed he was getting nowhere by his prayer because of his hardness of heart, he began to feel sorry for himself and say, "Now, O Blessed Virgin, I realize that you do not find me worthy and that I have no part in the fellowship of Christ's poor." Nevertheless, his heart was so taken up by a desire for evangelical perfection that he was granted a vision of how great a security poverty is before the strict judgement of God.
He saw himself in a dream brought before the judgement seat of Christ and, when he though he could escape since he was innocent and conscious of no sin, someone next to the judge said, "You who stand here, what have you ever left behind for our Lady?" Frightened, he came to his senses and the vision disappeared. Warned in this way, he desired to be poor, but his sluggish will stood in the way. He was blaming himself and in a sad mood as he came out of the church after his night vigil.
Then He who looks at the humble shook the foundations of his heart. With tears and a firm spirit he poured out his whole soul to God and all that hardness of heart was broken by a mighty blast, so that what seemed most heavy before, now became easy and joyful. Rising in that burst of fervour, he hurried to Master Reginald and made a vow which he fulfilled some days later when he entered along with his companion.
This Brother Henry was a most pleasing young preacher in the beginning of the Order. Master Jordan, who was his most loving friend, says that he saw him after death with a multitude of angels giving him a blessing to preach the word of God with power.
4.13.4 A student at Paris used to visit the church of Notre Dame almost every day and, commending himself to our Lady with tears, asked her frequently and fervently to bring him to the state which was most pleasing to her. He had strong sexual temptations and was persuaded by a bad companion to visit the harlots. But the kind Lord, by the kind prayers of his Mother, put thorns on his way. As he told me himself, when he was in front of the whorehouse, he could not move from the street and became as immobile as a stone. Astounded, he came back to himself and said, "I will go to the Blessed Virgin, because I realize that it does not please the Lord for me to go to these women." Immediately he was freed from his immobility and went alone to the church of Notre Dame and thanked her with many tears for preserving his chastity. A few days later, at the direction of the same Lady, he entered the Order of Preachers.
4.13.5 A student who had spent some time studying in the Faculty of Arts at Paris and wanted to transfer to the Faculty of Theology. He first visited home and commended himself very earnestly to the prayers of a certain abbot who was holy and very devoted to the Blessed Virgin. One day, while going back to Paris to study theology, he recalled the holiness and devotion of that good abbot and was suddenly moved with such a contrition of spirit and flood of tears that he could not continue riding his horse, but fell on the ground, crying and wailing loudly, unable to stop his tears. A boy who was holding his horse asked him why he was weeping so much and, when he could not get an answer, began weeping with him. In that state he promised God and Blessed Mary to serve them forever, and asked them to inspire him where and how he could fulfil this promise.
Then he was inspired to go to Paris and enter the Order of Preachers, which was then newly flourishing. When he came to Paris and considered the newness, poverty and austerity of that Order, together with his own weakness, and when some of his companions said many evil, although false, things about the Preachers, he began to waver seriously. Then he turned to prayer and asked God earnestly to show him what would be most useful for his salvation.
As he repeated these prayers fervently, one night in a dream the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to him and showed him the place of the brothers, the ceremony of receiving new brothers, the habit, an annex in which the brothers gathered for want of a chapter room, how they were given the habit there and by which persons. Touched by all this, he went to the brothers and was received. He found the place, the habit, the ceremony and the persons who received him all exactly as the very kind Virgin Mother of the Lord showed him in the night vision.
This was one of the first brothers of Burgundy who entered our Order. The Lord saved many souls through him. His life was holy, his teaching correct and his reputation great.
4.14 How the devil fights the Order as his enemy
4.14.1 Before the Preaching Brothers were in many of the provinces where they now are and, by the grace of God, produce fruit which does not perish, two brothers were coming to Bologna to the General Chapter, (102) when a runner dressed for the road came up to them and asked where they were going. They answered that they were going to Bologna for the General Chapter. He asked again what was going to happen in the Chapter. They told him what was going to be decided, and that the brothers would preach in different provinces of the world. He asked again whether some would go to Hungary or to Greece. "Many will go, by the grace of God." Then the runner jumped in the air and shouted in a terrible voice, "Your Order is our undoing," and suddenly disappeared like smoke. When the brothers came to Bologna they told everything to Blessed Dominic and the brothers gathered for the Chapter in the name of the Lord.
4.14.2 Before the Preaching Brothers had a place in Florence, there were heard terrible voices and shrieks of demons wailing there for a year. That was because the site the brothers were going to occupy had for many years been dedicated to them, as a haven for the many dirty activities, since it was a whorehouse. Not only the brothers, but many neighbours heard these voices.
4.14.3 A brother from the convent of Viterbo in Tuscany was praying in the church, and one night the devil appeared to him in a very dirty shadow, terrifying him. He fled into the cloister and the devil followed him. He entered the chapter room and then the devil said to him, "You have gone into a place where I cannot follow you, but I will still prevail against you." That is what happened, because at the devil's persuasion he left the Order. But by the mercy of God he returned.
4.14.4 A brother by the name of Martin, a very decent and educated man, was followed for three years by the devil, who appeared under different forms to frighten him. Once Master Jordan, of holy memory, took him along to Rome, and one evening while he was reading his Bible, which was a beautiful manuscript, the devil appeared in the shape of a very black monk jumping in front of him from one side to another and saying, "Idol, idol!" When the brother asked why, he answered, "Because you take that Bible as God." "Why are you persecuting me so much?" "Because you belong entirely to me." He then left.
The brother was then very fearful, even though he was conscious of no sin, and came to Master Jordan, telling him everything that the devil did and said to him, and added, "I do not see how he could have anything to accuse me of, except for that Bible. So I leave it to you; do with it what you like." Master Jordan, enlightened by God, understood the craftiness of the enemy who wanted in that way to impede the brother's study and the progress of souls; so he said, "I, in the name of the Lord, give you this Bible so that you may make progress in it." From then on the devil stopped molesting the brother, because of his humility and the prayer of the Father.
4.14.5 There was a brother possessed by the devil at Bologna in the time of Master Jordan, who disturbed the brothers very much and hurt them day and night by spreading false information, although sometimes he was forced to speak the truth. (103) One day while the brothers were at class and they could no way be heard in the infirmary, nor did any of those standing there know what was being said in class, he said, "Now the brothers in their capuce-scapulars are disputing whether Christ is the head of the Church." He repeated this several times with great indignation and a wild face, as if he were greatly pained by it. When he was told, "Miserable one, why do you tempt the brothers and drag souls to sin, when you are only piling up greater punishment for yourself that way?" he replied, "I do not do so because I like sin; in fact it stinks, but I do it for gain, just as the engineer who cleans the sewers of Paris does not like the stench, but endures it all because of gain."
4.14.6 Brother Peter of Aubenas, a holy and devout man much given to fervent prayer, was at Genoa when he saw one night a multitude of demons over the cloister and workrooms of the brothers, throwing many heavy loads of shit on these places. Then he saw a legion of holy angels running to the place and expelling the demons with their stink. One angel followed with a thurable full of incense and went through all the rooms, expelling the stench of the demons and filling them with sweet smoke.
4.14.7 Brother Raoul of Rome, mentioned above, said that he had no member of his body in which he did not feel pain from demons flogging him. Sometimes the devil would appear to him visibly and threatened him with terrible eyes; once also, when the brother was standing praying before the crucifix, the devil came in front of him like a shadow so that he could not see the crucifix. When that did not stop the brother from praying, he made funny gestures and turned his face towards the brother, at least to disturb his devotion a little.
4.14.8 A very religious brother at the time of Pope Innocent IV was devoutly praying over someone bound by the devil, when the devil shouted through the person's mouth, "Oh, how much evil you are doing to me, you Preachers and you Franciscans; but in a short while we will have our revenge on you." When the brother adjured him by the crucifix to say how, he was forced to answer, "Two of our great princes have come out against you, one to stir up prelates and princes against you, the other to make obstacles and disturb you by changes of places and buildings and opinions."
4.15 How demons corrected some less fervent brothers
4.15.1 In the early days of the Order, a brother from the convent of Bologna was going to Faenza and, without permission, accepted a cash gift of forty solida and one belt. He went back to Bologna and went to bed without confessing this. Before Matins demons rushed on him and carried him to a nearby vineyard recently bought by the brothers. There they broke many stakes over his back and went away leaving him half alive. After Matins the brothers heard his shouting and came to carry him back. His body was black and blue; his head and face were wounded, and his hands swollen. It took him a long time to recover.
4.15.2 At Genoa a brother spoke harsh and almost rebellious words to his prior, and at night went unreconciled to his room, which was at the other end of the house. There the demons grabbed him and gave him so many heavy blows that he could hardly return to bed. He lay there weak for quite some time, showing the blows that punished him and expressing words of repentance. In proof of what happened, the brothers found many fragments of the canes with which the demons beat him.
4.15.3 In the convent of Bologna a lay brother was suddenly severely harassed by a demon. The lay brothers, who had gone to bed, got up and called their master and then Blessed Dominic, who happened to be in the house. He ordered him to be brought to the church, and ten brothers could hardly carry him. Entering the church, the demon blew out all the lamps with one breath. As the demon harassed the brother many ways, Blessed Dominic said to him: "I adjure you, through Christ, to tell why you are harassing this brother and when and how you entered him." "I am harassing him because he merited it; yesterday he drank in town without permission and without the sign of the cross. So I then entered him under the form of a drink; he drank me with his wine."
Meanwhile the bell for Matins was rung and the demon said, "Now I can no longer remain here, once the brothers in capuces rise to praise God." He went away, leaving the brother lying almost dead on the ground. The brothers took him to the infirmary and in the morning he got up healthy, not knowing what happened to him. A brother who was present told this story to the Master of the Order.
4.15.4 In the convent of Siena in Tuscany there was a brother who was guilty of the vice of keeping private property. As he was standing on a high rock near the infirmary, suddenly he fell, with no one pushing him. As he fell, he saw next to him a black shadow saying, "It is the judgement of God; it is the judgement of God."
He called for the prior, who came and found him with his whole body battered. The brother then told him what he had seen and heard. For a whole year he hardly got well, but added sin to sin and finally left the Order.
4.16 Temptations of novices
4.16.1 A Spanish brother, (104) who later was highly respected and religious, during his novitiate suffered much from his clothing material and hard bed, since he had an easy life in the world. He humbly told his confessor about this temptation and was told: "My dearest brother, remember that you lived in luxury in the world; so to make up for your sensuality and atone for your sins you should now accept this hardness not only patiently but even eagerly, for the Lord will be with you." These words stuck in his heart and from that moment his temptation stopped, and the things that seemed very difficult before became easy, since he took them as a way of atoning for his sins.
4.16.2 The same brother was very sociable, joyful and popular in the world. In the Order, when he tried to keep silence and control his free conversation, he was uncomfortable and could not control his spirit; it seemed as if a flame was burning his chest and throat whenever he was silent for long. One day he was enlightened in spirit to observe that this heat could be a temptation of the devil; so he firmly decided that he would stay there in silence without going out, even if he had to burn completely to ashes.
When God saw his intention and firmness of spirit, he removed his giddiness, so much so that it became a pleasure for him to remain silent and he could spend time alone without claustrophobia; in this he had a special grace above all others. The Master of the Order knew this from staying a long time with him in the infirmary at Paris; he does not remember him ever saying an idle word, but he was always consoling the discouraged or speaking of divine things or humbly keeping silence. Although he was almost continuously ill, he never asked for anything, but took only what was offered to him, accepting everything with thanks, even if it seemed harsh on his constitution, habits or illness. Since he threw all his cares onto God, God took care of him. And after many temptations and illnesses God so strengthened him that he became a wonderful preacher, a helpful lecturer and a hard-working prior provincial of Spain, spending for many years in many different tasks, without omitting anything pertaining to holiness and religious observance.
4.16.3 There was a very noble brother from the Roman province whom the Master of the Order, Brother John [of Wildeshausen], was bringing to Paris to have him continue his studies, when his relatives kidnapped him on the way, trusting in Lord Frederick, then Emperor, on whose side they were. (105) They brought him to a remote castle and held him there almost a year, not allowing any brother or letter from a brother reach him. They tried through friends and other ways to turn him from his purpose, but God's power was at work in him, and they could not get him to give up the habit or do anything contrary to his profession. Finally giving up on changing his mind, they let him go. Returning to the brothers, he was sent to Paris and made a master in theology. He excelled in knowledge and was a great pillar of the Order.
4.16.4 In the province of France, in the convent of Besançon, a novice who was greatly disturbed by a deceptive temptation to return to the world, with the idea that he would sell some things that were coming to him by inheritance and then return to the Order with that money.
He had firmly decided to do so, when a brother came to him asking him not to be vexed by what he was going to tell him. As he agreed not to be angry about what he heard, the other continued: "I saw in a dream that a very severe judge was coming with a disorderly mob of servants making a big racket. They tied a rope around your neck, wound your habit around your neck, led you out naked to be hung, and would not be moved to show you any mercy. I was overawed by the judge and terrified of the mob of servants, so stood far off weeping and not daring to come near. Therefore, very dear brother, examine your state of conscience and do not let any temptation seduce you."
The novice then told his brother about what he had meant to do and how he was now stopped by fear, and asked, "Tell me, for God's sake, whether you saw them hang me." "I saw only what I told you." So, realizing that the devil was trying to bring him back to the world so as to lead him to the hanging-post of hell, promised then and there that he would serve God and the Blessed Virgin perpetually in this Order, despising that earthly heritage which almost cost him the true heavenly life.
4.16.5 In the same convent of Besançon, a good brother saw the Lord in a dream; he was displeased with a certain novice and saying to him in anger, "Go away from me, because you are not worthy to remain here polluted with clean brothers." And he saw the novice going in and out of rooms. The vision was proved true by what happened, for the next morning it was discovered that a novice, with whom God in fact was angry, had secular clothes smuggled to him, secretly put them on and left.
4.16.6 In the same convent a novice was tempted over and over again against the faith. The prior often helped him by his encouragement and advised him to pray much. One night the novice was taught the following prayer in a vision:
God, you make evil people just and do not want the death of sinners. Your servant trusts in your mercy. Kindly protect him with your heavenly help and guard him with your careful protection, so that he may always serve you and not be separated from you by any temptations. Through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The novice believed he had never seen or heard or read this prayer anywhere. He thought of it so much during the vision that he learned it by heart.
In the morning, when he told this story to the prior, he learned that the prayer was in the Missal, prescribed for those suffering from temptation. He was very much strengthened by this, but the temptation did not entirely go away. So he often said that prayer devoutly.
Around that time a brother brought relics of cloth dipped in the blood of Blessed Peter Martyr, (106) which had miraculously come from a piece of the tunic in which the saint accepted martyrdom for his faith in Christ. Many citizens of Besançon came with great devotion asking that the crystal vial in which the relics were contained could have wine poured over it; they drank that wine and many were cured of their illnesses.
One day our novice, who did not believe in those miracles, was serving Mass and a woman came asking to ask for the wine preparation mentioned above. As the brother lowered the vial with the relics towards the woman's wine jug, suddenly many drops of blood fell from that vial on the silk cloth which was on the altar, and one drop stuck so strongly to the vial that the prior could not wipe it off by rubbing it hard with a cloth. Seeing this, the brother realized that the miracle was worked by God's mercy to confirm him and others in their faith. He thanked God, and was freed from his temptation. The miracle related here was well known in that city.
4.16.7 In the convent of Ghent in Flanders there was a novice who wanted to leave the Order because of some grave temptations, especially because he had a rich church in the world which he faithfully administered and gave out much in alms. But now he received the alms of others, he could not help or give to anyone, nor preach or visit the sick or near confessions, as he was used to be doing freely in the world. The brothers often advised him, but could not console him, but was firmly intent on leaving.
One morning, while he was sleeping before the altar of the Blessed Virgin after long prayer, our Lady appeared, holding two cups and saying, "You have wept and are thirsty, so drink now." After he drank, she said, "What did you drink?" "Wine that is cloudy, bad tasting and mixed with dregs." She then offered him the other cup and said, "Drink from this one." When he did so, she said, "What did you drink?" "Very good wine, clear, very sweet and well filtered." Then Blessed Mary told him, "Just as these two drinks are different from one another, so there is a greater distance between the good life you led in the world and that which you accepted in this Order. Do not be afraid or discouraged, because I will give you help." The vision disappeared, and the brother was strengthened in the Order; thereafter he became a good lecturer and devout preacher.
4.16.8 In the convent of Sens, a novice was tempted to leave the Order, since he could no longer endure many grave temptations. He confessed to a good brother who, consoled him much and then said, "O miserable brother, what are you thinking? You chose Christ and his Mother, and now do you want to reject the good and choose evil? Take your belt, tie it around your neck and throw yourself before the altar of the Blessed Virgin, telling her from your heart, "O my Lady, I am your servant; I am your servant! Let me turn out good and do not make me ashamed of my hope" (Psalm 119:116). He did so, and immediately the temptation stopped, and after that he became a good and devout preacher.
4.16.9 Who could tell all the various and subtle ways that the adversary uses all the time to tempt novices? He tries many different ways to turn them away from religious life: Sometimes he suggests indiscrete fervour and too much abstinence, as he did to Master Jordan; (107) sometimes he suggests relaxation and omission of the observances that are obligatory in the Order, as when the delicate brother took his shoes off at night because of the heat, and the Blessed Virgin refused to look at him; sometimes he promotes excessive attachment to relatives and dear ones; sometimes he disturbs them when they refuse to do his will, and if the novices want to fight back they sometimes are fighting themselves; sometimes he stirs up memories of sexual pleasure; sometimes he gives them nightmares; sometimes he turns their companions against them; sometimes he gets them attached to books or even inconsequential things.
I saw a novice gravely tempted over a little dog he was taking care of and lost. He was more attached to it than to all the many valuable things he had left behind in the world. The devil also tempts through anguish of heart, through different bodily illnesses, through the talk of older brothers, the judgements of detractors and by many other means. He is rightly called the master of a thousand arts, since he has seven eyes and never stops killing people. So all should beware of his traps and expose him by pure and frequent confession, following the advice of the Fathers rather than one's own ideas.
4.17 The temptation of gluttony<4.17>
4.17.1 In the province of Poland a superior once dispensed two brothers, perhaps without reasonable cause, so that they could eat meat on a journey. The next night, as he was sleeping off, he saw in a dream the devil entering the room where he lay; he asked him what he wanted. The devil said, "I have come to visit those brothers who ate meat." The prior of that province wrote this to the Master of the Order.
4.17.2 In the same province a canon regular joined our Order. Then he was tempted by the desire for meat, which had been eating before, and returned to his former cloister. Afterwards he became very sick, and in an ecstasy saw himself being dragged to the place of judgement, and the meat he had eaten was weighed before him. When he came back to himself he was terrified and returned to our Order and stayed there.
4.17.3 A brother tempted by gluttony had some cheesecake brought to him subreptiously, intending to eat it in secret. After hiding it somewhere, while standing in choir chanting the Office, he was thinking about how he could more safely eat it, when a spiritual brother saw a devil dancing before him with a cake in his hands and often offering it to him. He was amazed at that, and after Office pulled the brother aside and asked him how he was and whether he had any temptation. He said that he was well, and did not want to admit or did not notice his miserable state of temptation. When the brother told him what he had seen during the Office, he shook and confessed with tears what he had really done, and was freed from the sin and the temptation by the grace of God.
4.18 The temptation of stubbornness
4.18.1 A brother who had collected money begging for the community hid, without permission of his prior, ten solida so that he could use it for any need that might come up. Later he became seriously ill and, as he was nearing death, a Brother John who was assisting him said, "Be glad, brother, because you are going to God. Remember me when all is well for you." He answered, "That cannot be, because in the window in front of me the devil is standing with his mouth wide open, ready to devour my poor soul, because up to now I have kept private money." Brother John was dumbfounded, and tried to inspire him with confidence in God, using many reasons and examples of his mercy. He succeeded in persuading him to call the prior, return the private money and repent of the evil he had done. When he did that and was absolved by the prior, the devil he saw immediately fled. The sick brother then broke down in tears because of the hope sent to him from heaven, and later slept in peace.
4.18.2 A lay brother in a house of the sisters, while sick, seemed to have the spirit of prophecy. After predicting many things to many different people, someone with no faith in his words mocked him, saying, "Brother, tell me what will happen to me?" He answered, "Miserable, miserable brother, return the money that you stole. You sold a load of hay belonging to the sisters and hid the money. This is your fate: You will die this year with no brother present." And that is what happened; he was off somewhere without a companion, taking care of the property of the monastery, when an abscess developed in his throat and quickly suffocated him.
4.18.3 In the province of Rome, in the convent of Perugia, a brother was tired during the night Office on the feast of Blessed Augustine. During Lauds he left the choir and went back to sleep. In a dream he saw Blessed Augustine standing by him, dressed as a brother, and saying, "Now you did your own will." He went away, and the brother cried, "What shall I do, Lord?" "Do penance." So he got up right away and came to the chapter room as a sermon was being delivered to the brothers.
4.18.4 A brother, who was very religious and devout and a good lecturer for a long time, advanced some new opinions which more expert brothers judged to be erroneous. Frequently warned to abandon them, he would not agree. Finally the Master and diffinitors of the General Chapter asked him on their knees to repent, so that they would not be forced to impose a heavy sentence on him. But he stuck to his opinions and refused to obey. Then a brother, a holy and trustworthy man who had long been in the Order and was now a prior, saw a devil sitting over his head in the Chapter when he was summoned about this matter and gave his obstinate reply. He told this to another brother who was close to him, requiring that if he ever told anyone else he should not mention his name.
4.19 The temptation of curiosity about philosophers
4.19.1 A brother in England was thinking about how he could embellish with philosophy a sermon he was going to preach to students. As he was thinking about this, he slept in his cell and saw in a dream the Lord Jesus bringing him a Bible which had a very dirty cover. When the brother said that it was filthy, Christ opened it and showed him its beauty inside, saying, "Yes, it is very beautiful, but you have soiled it with your philosophizing.
4.19.2 A brother from Lombardy was studying in England and was wondering whether to concentrate on physics or theology. In a dream a man appeared to him holding a scroll from which he read the names of the dead who, he said, were being severely tortured. Asked why, he said that it was because of their philosophy. The brother was taught this way what was better for him to study.
4.19.3 A brother who said that he greatly enjoyed studying philosophy, one night experienced a rapture to the place of judgement and was told that he was not a brother but a philosopher. He was ordered to undress and was severely flogged. When he came to his senses, he felt for fifteen days pains on his back and aches all over his body, as if he had been bodily flogged while awake.
4.19.4 A prior, who was a good man, told the brothers in a sermon that he saw in England a simple and illiterate clergyman from the countryside who became possessed by the devil. He then could cleverly answer everything he was asked, whether in Greek, Latin, English or French. When a brother asked him whether he was created in heaven, he said "Yes". Asked which spirit he was, he said "the spirit of pride". Asked whether he had seen the Lord, he said "Yes". Put under oath to say how God was three and one, he crouched into a ball and shook, saying, "Let us creatures keep quiet about what we are not fit to speak about and what may not be said."
4.19.5 In the province of Rome a brother was tempted about knowledge and asked the Lord to give it to him and to open by his grace the ways to the knowledge of God. He then had this vision in the night: He was offered a large book full of questions about the faith, and at the end there was written, "The master says nothing about these, but wants to be permitted to serve Christ in his simplicity."
4.20 The temptation of ambition
4.20.1 A brother once thought he was worthy to be a bishop and thought of all the good he would do in that office. When this thought came back to him as he prayed after Matins, he vehemently condemned all that he had been thinking about and prayed to God with many tears to keep him in evangelical poverty, unstained by honours and wealth.
He then slept and a good spirit appeared to him saying, "Fleshly attachment to relatives, popularity, the wickedness of the times, time spent in administration, deprivation of spiritual goods, being a scandal to your Order and uncertainty of what you will become in the end are reasons why you should flee from this dignity. It is written, "The mighty will be mightily tormented" (Wisdom 6:6)." He then woke up and found this written on his hand.
4.20.2 As a brother was walking along the road, he began to think in his heart what he would do if he were made a bishop. As he was thinking about this, he suddenly fell into some deep mud.
Coming to his senses, he said to himself, "Get up, lord bishop; it is good this has happened to you, because such a place is good for such a bishop." And perhaps if what he was thinking about became a reality, he would have fallen into the worse mud of many sins.
4.21 The temptation of indignation
4.21.1 A holy and discrete brother at Naples (108) had slept for a while after Matins and saw himself telling the brothers in chapter these words: "Brothers, the wish of our Fathers who founded this Order was that we should not leave it because of temptations of the flesh, which are attractive, or because of temptations of the world, which are vain, or because of trouble from demons or men, which are difficult, but to overcome everything for the love of Christ." When he got up he delivered this same message to the brothers.
4.21.2 The same brother, on the day he became prior provincial of the Roman province, was warning the brothers to beware of dissension among themselves. He gave them an example: "A brother was once attacking me unjustly and after a few days died without having apologized. One night he appeared to me as I lay sick and asked my pardon. When I remembered who he was, I said, 'Go, brother, and ask pardon from the Lord Jesus Christ, in whose hands you are.' He left and asked pardon from Christ, as I told him; then the Lord answered, 'I am not giving you pardon unless you first get it from the one you offended.' So he came back to me the same night and received pardon. He then said to me, 'See, brother Nicholas, how bad it is to offend a brother and how serious it is not to be reconciled.'"
4.21.3 At Rome there was a brother who was very dissatisfied with being procurator of the convent and complained to the prior. To pacify his heart, the prior asked him to say one Our Father every day for him. This made him all the more angry and burning with greater hatred.
One day he suddenly fell sick and, almost dead, began shouting, "To hell!", cursing his brothers and his Order. At last, as the brothers prayed, he said, "Mother of God, Mother of God, help me." Then, as he related, he saw himself placed in a roaring fire because of his anger, and began to blaspheme because of the intolerable pain; but by the prayers of the brothers and his invoking Blessed Mary he was brought back to himself. In proof of what he experienced, his body was burned all over.
4.22 The temptation of day-dreaming
4.22.1 In the year of our Lord 1230, when Master Conrad was preaching in Germany against the heretics and was martyred by them for his faith, a heretic, seduced by demons, invited a preacher who was his friend to join his sect. When he saw him absolutely resisting, he said, "If I were to show you Christ, his Mother, the Apostles and saints agreeing with me, would you believe?" The brother thought he was deceived by an illusion; so replied, "I would rightly believe you if you prove what you promise." Then the heretic happily appointed a night when he would do so.
Then the brother secretly and reverently put the body of Christ in a pix under his capuce, before his breast, and continued praying devoutly to God so that no illusion would overcome him. When the heretic brought him to a cave in a nearby mountain, they suddenly saw a wonderful shining palace and a room filled with sweet scent, with golden thrones arranged in a circle. A king sat there surrounded by a brightly shining multitude of people dressed in white, while a very beautiful queen was next to him. When the heretic saw this, he fell on his face and adored. But the brother went up close, brought out the pix and offered it to the queen sitting on a throne, saying, "If you are the queen of heaven and earth, see your son; adore him as God."
Immediately the whole fantasy vanished. The heretic was converted to Christ and the brother who convinced him told this story to Brother Conrad, prior provincial of Germany, who often told the story to the brothers, without mentioning the names of the persons and the place.
4.22.2 A brother of the convent at Paris devoted himself to almost continuous prayers and tears, abandoning his study, classes and sermons while he devoted himself totally to devotion. The devil often appeared to him in the form of the Blessed Virgin, revealing many things to him and praising his way of life.
When he spoke about this to Brother Peter of Rheims, then prior of the house, he commanded him, if the appearance came again, to spit in her face, "because," he said, "the Blessed Virgin is humble and will not be angry; she will rather excuse your obedience. But if it is the devil, he is proud and will go away in shame." When the brother did this, the devil was angry and said, "You are cursed, and cursed is the one who told you to do this!" He fled in shame and never appeared to him again.
4.22.3 A devout brother said that one night, when he went to his cell after Matins to study, his eyes fell on a book and he suddenly felt very sleepy. He rubbed his face again and again, but the sleepiness would not leave him. In irritation, he said, "Good God, what is happening to me? Why should I be so unusually sleepy after sleeping enough?" Then he heard a voice saying, "Because the doors are not yet shut." "How are the doors to be shut?" "From your head to your breast and from one ear to the other." The brother then realized the source; so he made the sign of the cross and said, "Depart from me, you wicked, that I may observe the commandments of my God" (Psalm 119:115). Immediately the sleepiness sent by the tempter left him.
4.23 Divine revelations and consolations to the brothers
4.23.1 A very devout novice in the early days of the Order was praying one night before his bed and saw the devil in the shape of a chimpanzee, snorting with rage and saying, "See how these have conspired against me, but I will have revenge on them; I will burn this house with them in it." The brother was afraid and put him under oath by the authority of God not to do so. The devil was enraged by this and jumped on him, saying, "Are you putting us under oath, after having been one of us? You will now die." And he pressed him so strongly that he could not speak or call anyone to help him. Then the brother called to mind the Blessed Trinity and said with a free heart, "In the name of the Father," and when he thought "and of the Son," he realized his mouth was free; when he said "and the Holy Spirit," his hand was free and he made the sign of the cross.
Immediately the devil left him for the cell of another brother, where he began writing his evil plans on a piece of paper. When the brother saw this, he did not dare move or wake up the brothers, but said the Hail Mary devoutly. The enemy could not endure that; so he tore with his teeth the paper on which he had written and fled with a loud noise. On his way out he knocked a pot that was outside the dormitory. Many said that they heard the sound.
4.23.2 Another time the devil appeared to the same brother, wanting to crush him. But he made the sign of the cross and said the Hail Mary, which he had heard was very powerful against all enemies. The devil then fled from him in fear.
4.23.3 When the same brother had spent more than thirty years in the Order and was preaching in a certain city, in a light sleep after Matins he saw the Blessed Virgin offering him her Son as a reward for his preaching. He was wonderfully consoled by this vision and was in a state of mental jubilation for eight days.
4.23.4 When the same brother preached on the feast of Blessed Peter Martyr about the three crowns, after Matins he saw himself entering the brothers' choir and seeing there the choirs of martyrs, confessors and virgins, with the Blessed Virgin standing with Blessed Peter Martyr in their midst. They were all singing a hymn about eternal joy with a triple Halleluia and the antiphon "Eternal light will shine on your saints, Lord". At the command of our Lady, the brother went up and joined them in singing. Afterwards the Blessed Virgin took him and placed him before Christ, saying, "Son, I offer him also to you."
4.23.5 The same brother was once on his knees before the altar of Blessed Mary asking forgiveness of his sins when, in an ecstasy, he saw himself going up and kissing the feet of the boy Jesus, whom the Virgin held on her lap. This experience was like eating honeycomb. When he came to his senses and thought about it, he could feel the taste of honey in his mouth. All the above stories about this brother were told in utmost confidence to another brother, who related them to the Master. He also said that the brother was such a great and wonderful person that these and even greater stories could be verified of him.
4.23.6 A brother who was a master of theology at Paris (109) and whose life and knowledge is famous and very useful to the Church of God, had a dream in Paris at the time the Master of the Order was combatting some people in the court of the Pope who wanted to ruin the Order. He saw the brothers looking up to heaven with great awe; after looking for a long time, they said, "See, see!" And he, together with the brothers, saw written in heaven with golden letters the following inscription: "The Lord will deliver us from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us" (Luke 1:71). That very time the oppressive ruling given against the brothers by Pope Innocent was, by the grace of God, revoked by Pope Alexander, his successor.
4.23.7 The same brother in a dream saw an apparition of his deceased sister who said she was in purgatory, but would come out after fifteen days. When he asked her about one of their brothers, she said he was in Paradise. When he asked whether he would soon move on to salvation, she replied, "If you persevere, you will be saved, but you will come in a different way than we did." After fifteen days his brother, who he heard was in Paradise, appeared to him saying that his sister was now there. Asked whether he himself would be saved, his brother answered, "You should not ask about that, brother, because you are in a good state of life. Hold on to what you have, and persevere as you have begun. You can be sure that none or very few from your Order will be damned.
4.23.8 When the Chancellor of the University at Paris accorded the same brother a licence to lecture in theology there, (110) the next day this brother saw in a dream that someone gave him a book and said, "He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; with supplies from his storehouses the earth is fully provided" (Psalm 104:13). So the brother used this verse as the theme of his inaugural lecture.
4.23.9 Master Jordan, of holy memory, told of a young German brother that on Holy Thursday the Lord himself gave him communion, and on Good Friday he felt the whole passion of Christ in his body. He was surprised he hear himself told to be ready for this or that stage of the passion, while he saw no one afflicting him; nevertheless he felt each one.
4.23.10 Brother Albert of Germany (111) said that when he was prior provincial of Germany, a novice was received who lacked the proper age and knowledge, although he had a devotion and goodness that others lacked. When the brothers jokingly threatened him that the provincial was going to expel him for the Order of Preachers, he became seriously afraid. On the vigil of the feast of the Purification he thought of Simeon's own wondering whether he would see the Saviour, whether he would live that long etc. Deeply affected by this problem, after Matins he prostrated in prayer and broke down in tears as he repeatedly said, "Lord Jesus, will I ever see you; will I last in this Order?" As he was saying this with great anguish, he heard a voice telling him, "You will see me, and you will persevere in this Order."
4.23.11 During his novitiate a brother so weakened his body by fasting, vigils and other exercises that he could not hold himself up. He then prostrated in prayer and cried with many tears, "Lord, you know, and I confess, that I have erred, that against the advice of my brothers I have afflicted myself too much. But, because I only wanted to please you, look on me and have mercy, so that I can join my brothers in doing what the Order requires." Immediately he felt himself freed from his weakness and his former strength restored, and he faithfully served the Lord for many years.
4.23.12 A devout brother in the convent of Limoges was stirred by many temptations of the devil and at the same time was suffering from a disease in his private parts. So he began to invoke the Mother of mercy devoutly and often spent the night in prayer. Since an image of Christ crucified was painted in each cell, spread like an open book of life and a book about the art of God's love, he also frequently lifted the eyes of his body and of his heart to Jesus crucified to come to his aid. Attracted more and more, he began to lick the feet, and finally his devotion gave him confidence to embrace the image itself.
One night, as he was kissing and licking the feet of Christ with much devotion, he sensed a very sweet food in his mouth, superior to any honey or spice in taste and smell. It delighted not only his heart, but also gave his body joy and strength. This drew him away from every human consolation and made him find satisfaction only in reading and praying.
One night, after many prayers and praises of the Blessed Virgin, he slept a little and saw her coming to him with two very proper looking girls. She consoled him over his different temptations and the bodily disease which he worried so much about, and offered him three apples that she was holding. When he ate them, she said, "This food will give you strength to do your work and will cure you of all your sicknesses of mind and body." When he woke up, he found himself both consoled and healed; so he greatly thanked the Lord and our Lady, his Mother.
4.23.13 A religious and trustworthy brother, Peter of Sézanne, in France, who was a prior and a lecturer in the Order, wrote this report of the conversion of a Muslim: In the time of the very pious emperor John, I came to Constantinople with some other brothers, sent by the Pope to settle, if possible, the differences the modern Greeks had with us.
Meanwhile there came a Muslim man of religion and vehement defender of his ancestral traditions; he was at the same time an extremely polished diplomat, with a simple appearance, very poor dress, a modest walk, and not very talkative, but inwardly he was empty. As he was speaking with the brothers at the port, trying to convert them and make them his disciples, I was called over. I must confess that I was amazed ate his good manners, such as I have hardly ever observed among our people. But after a while he blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ, saying that he was a mere man and not God. I was very horrified at hearing that, and when I felt in myself an unusual grace and merit of faith, I told the other brothers to be quiet, as I asked the Muslim whether it was written in their law that anyone under their power who blasphemes against Muammad should be beheaded without mercy. He answered "Yes." Then I said, "So either we should behead you, or your law is unjust, as I will prove: If before Muslims someone blasphemes Muammad, whom you hold to be the prophet of the Most high God, but not God, and the law justly condemns him to death, in the same way someone who before Christians blasphemes Christ, whom we hold to be not only a prophet but also the God and Lord of all the prophets, with even greater justice the law should condemn him to death. So you should suffer the consequences of the law that you yourself received from Muammad."
The man could not answer. Then I added, "Do not be afraid; you will not die, because the law of Muammad is not just. Yet you will not go unpunished by God, whom you blasphemed." Then I informed the prefect of the Emperor's castle, who sent two men to put the blasphemer in prison. In prison that man of religion did not eat or drink that day nor the next, but sat on a stone, praying motionless, as others who were in prison testified to us.
Then I thought of visiting him, and came to him early in the morning with a companion who knew Greek and Latin. We found him sitting on that stone, and when he saw us he got up and said, "Please listen to what I have to say: Before you came in I was sleeping on that stone and saw my shaykh (112) bringing me a piece of mouldy bread; then you came and brought me a whole fresh loaf and asked me to eat it."
At that point, I, Brother Peter, brought out a whole fresh loaf which my companion did not know I was carrying, and offered it to the poor hungry man, saying, "See, the Lord let you see a true vision; take this bread and eat it." When he took it, I said to him, "I will also show you the true interpretation of your vision: The piece of mouldy and dirty bread that you saw, and what dogs eat, you can certainly recognize as the teaching of Muammad, which wild and dirty men eagerly devour; they worship irrationally and against the truth; they are pleasing only exteriorly, whereas inwardly they are empty and ignorant; that is why you saw such a piece of bread in the hand of your shaykh, who fed you this miserable doctrine. But the one whole and fresh loaf is our Lord Jesus Christ, who feeds his people and refreshes them with knowledge and teaching. He is the living bread that came down from heaven; he is the supersubstantial bread, "the reflection of God's glory that bears the impress of his own being" (Hebrews 1:3), who is received whole by each individual and always remains one and complete. He is the one you blasphemed yesterday, and whom we offer to you today to believe in and love."
We left after saying this, and not long afterwards we obtained his release from prison. When he came out, he went to the Franciscans, who sent him to us. He was carefully instructed by the brothers while he stayed forty days in the garden of our house; afterwards he stayed alone in an old Greek church, where he was given enough to eat and he learned the Creed and the Our Father. He was wholeheartedly converted to God and baptized on the feast of the Conversion of Blessed Paul, and given the name Paul. We saw him for a long time devotedly and humbly serving the Lord. May God be blessed forever. Amen.
4.23.14 One night a brother let out such a loud and horrible shout in the dormitory that the prior and the brothers woke up and ran to him. When light was brought and the prior spoke to him, he could not answer, but remained in an amazing state of terror, with his eyes fixed on a certain spot.
In the morning, after he had rested somewhat, the prior called him and asked what happened. He said that he saw the devil and was terrified by the sight. The prior asked what he looked like, and the brother said, "I would not know how to describe him adequately to you; all I can say is that on one side there was a burning oven and on the other side that figure that I saw. I would rather enter that oven than look at the figure of the devil.
4.23.15 When Louis Junior, the first born of glorious Louis, the king of France, was sick at Paris, (113) a brother in the convent of Paris who knew nothing about his sickness, saw in a dream the king standing in a high pulpit, holding a crown in his hands. His two sons, the Louis we mentioned and Philip, his second-born, were standing on either side of him. Though he should have put the crown on Louis, as his firstborn, the king put it on the other. When the prior told the brothers in chapter to pray for the sick boy, the brother told the prior what he saw in his dream. After a few days the firstborn died. Because of his holy innocence and good character he is firmly believed to have gone straight to heaven; his brother then became heir of the kingdom.
4.23.16 (114) When the bell for Matins rang on the feast of Holy Innocents a brother delayed getting up, intending to skip Matins and rest. Then he heard a voice from on high telling him, "Get up right away, if you want to hear a voice in heaven." He got up immediately and went to Matins with wonder and joy, realizing that anyone who wants to hear a heavenly voice must leave his bed of bodily rest, as when Saint Augustine heard the words, "I am the food of the great." Such messages do not come to those who are living softly, but one must get up with the bride and "go through the city, in the streets and in the squares, looking for my sweetheart" (Song of Songs, 3:2).
The next day, on the feast of Saint Thomas of Canterbury, the same brother was praying prostrate in the church after Matins. He slept and saw himself praying prostrate before he altar, while the sweet infant Jesus, at two years of age, was coming down from the altar and prostrated over his head. As he saw the lovely feet with which he condescended to touch the earth where we mortals live, for joy and devotion he exclaimed like the Apostle Thomas, "You are my Lord Jesus! you are my Lord Jesus!" He kept repeating the same thing with tears, as he held his right foot in his hands and lovingly kissed it over and over.
4.24 Brothers who were famous for miracles in their lives
4.24.1 The Franciscans of Albi had worked for a long time looking for water, but could not find it, when brother Maurice came on a preaching mission from the convent of Toulouse. He was a native of that area, noble by birth, humble of heart, poor in dress, a true lover of poverty, and a fervent and efficacious preacher against heretics.
Feeling sorry for the Franciscans' predicament, he called on God and showed them the place, saying, "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, dig here and you will find water." They found water as soon as they dug the well, and up to today it continues to supply plenty of good water.
4.24.2 Brother Walter, once prior and lecturer of the brothers at Strassburg in Germany, a humble, devout and kind brother, after presiding over the Chapter of the sisters at Colmar, assigned some offices to different sisters. Then Sister Cunegunda, who was down with a fever, said, "And Father, which office are you going to give me?" "Your fever will be your office." So she then refused to take medicine, saying that she would hold her office until she was relieved of it by the one who had given it to her. In the meantime she thought that medicine would be useless. After six or seven weeks Prior Walter came back, as had been arranged, and heard of that sister's devotion. Taking pity on her, he said before many, "In the name of Christ, I relieve you of the office of that fever." She humbly prostrated on the ground and got up completely cured.
The same Brother Walter, while saying Mass or praying privately, was seen by many who reported the fact, that he was lifted in the air, held up only by a divine miracle.
When the same brother gave a certain brother an office, the brother said, "Tell the fever I have to go away, and I will do what you command." The prior then made the sign of the cross over him and said, "Now let your fever go away, in the name of Christ," and the brother was immediately cured.
While the same prior was pouring out prayers to God for a girl who had taken a vow of chastity, the words of his prayer strangely became as bitter as bile to him. The man of God fully understood that the girl was resisting the effect of his prayer. Events proved him true, because in a short while the girl who lied to an immortal Spouse married a mortal one.
Once a sister in Strassburg was possessed was greatly disturbing the sisters. Brother Walter gave himself over to fasting and fervent prayer and then came to the sisters' house with another brother. There he saw a multitude of angels walking with him and saying, "We have been sent to help you." So when he ordered the possessed sister to be brought forward, before he got up from prayer, the demon went out of her, leaving her like dead. But by the prayer of the holy man she shortly revived completely.
The same brother frequently celebrated Mass for the dead and he was often given knowledge of the state of souls, whether they were in rest or in pain, and how long they deserved to stay there. When a friend of his died, who he knew should spend two years in pain, he and others obtained his complete release after six weeks. The deceased person appeared to him while he was celebrating Mass, thanking God for his release.
While the same brother was in Colmar, praying in the house of the Franciscans, he was considering in his heart the bitterness of our Lord's passion. Then he sensed in his body, in the five places of the Lord's wounds, such pain that he could not help groaning loudly. From then on he often sensed pain in those five places.
Once, when Brother Walter desired to know how much pain the Blessed Virgin suffered in her Son's passion, he experienced a sword piercing his own heart.
4.24.3 Brother William of Germany, a very religious and zealous seeker after souls, once was preaching when someone from the crowd disturbed his preaching by his shouting. Unable to silence him, the brother told him before his audience, "Know for sure that you will not go away from here unpunished." The man left the place defiantly and right away became mad and had to be tied by his friends to keep him from hurting others. Ten weeks later, Brother William returned to the same place with Brother Theophilus who was with him before. The friends of the insane man begged him to forget the insult and pray to the Lord for him. So, after praying over the mad man, the Lord restored him to his former health.
The same Brother William once met a sister suffering from an every-third-day fever. He prayed and restored her to health, saying, "Go, and give thanks to God."
4.24.4 In a certain town there was a boy with an illness that had kept him down for a long time. His mother brought him to Brother Henry, the elder, of Germany, asking him to pray to the Lord for him. Because of her insistence, he prayed then and there in public, placing his hand over the boy, and obtained for him instant and perfect health.
The same Brother Henry was staying at the house of a woman abandoned by a soldier, whose son was near death. Henry compelled his companion to join him in praying for the boy, and they brought him back from death to life.
4.24.5 Two Spanish brothers sent on a preaching mission came to Madrid and visited the sisters to whom Blessed Dominic had given the habit of holy religion. While one of them was staying in the guest house preparing the sermon he was going to preach to the sisters, a cock kept disturbing him by its crowing. Although he chased the cock away several times, it kept coming back and wore him out with its crowing. The brother then suddenly got up, took a stick and hit the cock, killing it with one blow. When he saw this, he considered his inconsideration and the sisters' loss, and was sorry for what he did. So he took the dead cock in his hands and said, "Lord Jesus Christ, raise him to life, since you made him and can do everything; and by your grace in the future I will avoid such inconsiderateness." Immediately the cock flew from his hands to the ground. After shaking its wings, it sang again, but not in an annoying way as before.
Brother Giles of Spain wrote to the Master of the Order that he heard this story from the brother concerned. He believed him, because he was a trustworthy and good brother.
4.24.6 A Spanish priest who was almost blind in one eye, had faith that if Brother Lawrence, a preacher, placed his hand over his eye he would be cured. When the brother was asked, he touched the eye and immediately the priest recovered his sight.
Once the same brother Lawrence told a certain youth to spare an enemy of his, and he refused. So the brother said, "I know that you are impeded by a demon that is in you." When the youth said that he had nothing to do with a demon, the holy man left. Within three days the youth was seized bodily by the demon and miserably tortured. So he returned to Brother Lawrence humbly and obediently and was perfectly cured.
4.24.7 In the convent of Milan there was a brother called Robald, a man of wonderful purity and holiness. One day some heretics came to him with the intention of mocking him. One of them pretended to have a fever, and when he found him praying before an altar, said with pretended humility and fake devotion, "For God's sake, brother, bless me, because I have a fever and firmly hope that you will free me from it." The brother answered, "I am asking God to take away your fever if you have one, but if you do not have one, may he give it to you." But the man insisted, saying, "Brother Robald, you are a holy man and should not speak that way. Rather bless me and I will immediately be free." The brother answered, "What I have said, I have said."
Then the heretic went away in shame, but before he could leave the church he came down with a very strong fever. He could not go back to his companions, but went straight home to bed, because the fever was seriously mounting. He then called his wife, who was a Catholic, and asked her to send right away for Brother Robald. As she delayed, he asked her again and again to send for him. She went, but the brother delayed coming until the next day, so that he would be better tortured. When he finally came, the man confessed the malice in his heart. After he had confessed his sins and renounced all heresy, the brother made a sign of the cross over him and prayed for him, and immediately the fever left him along with his error.
The same brother had a special grace in making peace between enemies. One day when he had gathered many men to make a peace pact, he saw someone whose brother was killed, and on the other side his killer. He then led the killer to the brother of the killed man and asked him to give him his peace for the sake of God. But the man was completely enraged and, as if he were seeing his brother killed again, began to show the hatred he had for the killer by words, signs and threats.
When the brother observed this, he trusted in God's omnipotence and kindness and said, "I command you in the name of almighty God, who made heaven and earth, who suffered on the cross for us and spared those who crucified him and prayed for them, before you move your feet, to make peace with him." The wonderful thing is that the man could not move his feet until he did what he was commanded.
When another brother heard of this, he came up very indignantly and defiantly to kill him. But the holy man converted him from ferocity to meekness and commanded the brothers to bring the killer home right away for dinner and the next day be bring him back, so that this could be an instrument of peace among them. They fully carried out everything exactly as the servant of God commanded.
4.24.8 In the province of Spain there was a venerable and religious brother named Peter Sendre, from Catalonia, a very fervent preacher through whom God worked may miracles even while he was alive. Here are a few of those sworn to by witnesses: By the touch of his hand, as he invoked the name of Jesus Christ, thirteen blind people were given sight, while four deaf, seven crippled, five hunchbacked, and twenty-three sick people near death were perfectly cured.
A woman who was hunchbacked and her whole body bent had herself carried to his preaching. She could not get near him because of the pressure of the crowds; so when the people had left, she took the bark of the branches on which the brother was sitting, called on the names of the Blessed Virgin and Brother Peter, her preacher, and put the bark on the joints of her body. Immediately the limbs made a snapping sound and began to straighten out like wax. From then on she could stand erect and praised God.
There was a woman who suffered much because she had trouble urinating, and the same brother gave her holy water to drink, and she was immediately cured.
4.24.9 In the convent of Pavia, Brother Isnard was a religious and fervent man and a very pleasing preacher, through whom God worked many miracles, as trustworthy witnesses testify. Among them, five crippled were able to walk, three deaf were given hearing, two dumb were given speech, three blind were given sight and three had the use of their hands restored. When he touched them and called on the name of Jesus Christ, they were completely healed.
There was a boy in Pavia who everyone said was dead. When the brother made the holy sign of the cross over him and called on the name of Christ, the boy was raised up in the presence of many people.
When six youths were near drowning in the Po river, the brother was invoked and he marvellously delivered them.
When a paralysed woman ate the remains of his food, she was cured.
He wiped someone's shrivelled arm with saliva and it was immediately brought back to normal.
He kissed someone suffering from dropsy and the swelling ended.
There was a man who had laid paralysed for thirteen years whom he restored to full health by invoking the name of Christ.
When some heretics said that if Brother Isnard could deliver a man named Martin from the power of the devil they would believe he was a saint, he kissed the possessed Martin and the enemy of the human race was immediately expelled, Martin was restored to health and for many years served God and the brothers in Pavia.
A heretic who mocked his miracles in the square before many people said, "If that heavy jar in front of me comes by itself and breaks my leg, I will believe that fat Isnard is a holy man. Immediately the jar came up to him, with no visible mover, and broke his leg.
A man had a field of peas next to the road, and it was being pillaged by men and beasts. He commended it to Brother Isnard, and from that day the crop remained undamaged.
A lay brother who was very spiritual saw in a vision that the clergy and people of Pavia were coming to the house of the Preaching Brothers, asking for a brother to be made Pope. When the brother told this to the subprior and the two repeated it to Brother Isnard who was then prior, the prior saw that his end was at hand, and immediately he fell at the feet of the subprior and made a general confession to him. After a few days he died a happy death. He was a virgin in flesh and in heart. He was also famous for many miracles after his death, as we will describe later.
4.24.10 When Brother John [Wildeshausen] of Germany, who later was Master of the Order, was preaching the crusade for the help of the Holy Land in Basle, (115) among those who took the cross from his hand were a citizen and a canon of that city. When the wife of that citizen, who was the mother of the canon, heard of this, she was angry and said, "May as many demons take the man who gave my husband the cross as there are leaves on the tree." This sin of cursing was immediately followed by its penalty. From that moment her face swelled and she became like a leper. So she became very sorry and called the brother and confessed to him. When he put his hand on her she was immediately healed. When her son, the canon, saw this, he entered our Order and in place of the temporal cross which he had received, took the perpetual cross of religious life. Later he became a pleasing preacher and a useful prior in the Order.
Again, when Brother John was preaching the crusade, he designated a large field for the rally. The people had already gathered, when a noble man came up who had arranged to hold a duel on that field, and he began to disturb the preaching in many ways. When Brother John humbly asked him several times to stop, and he refused, the brother devoutly asked the Lord Jesus, who is almighty, to take care of this problem which he could not solve. Immediately the nobleman became mad and had to be carried by his mournful friends. Having finished his preaching without disturbance, Brother John made the sign of the cross over the nobleman and his friends and had the people join him in praying for him, and the man was fully healed.
4.24.11 A brother had been suffering from insomnia and severe headache for many years and was lying in the infirmary with his body worn out and his spirit barely holding onto it. One day some brothers came back from preaching and were washing their heads in the common wash house. He had himself carried there and said with much devotion and tears, "O almighty God, you are the kind rewarder of good works. By the sweat of your servants, whom you are looking at with satisfaction, look on me and make me their associate and companion in labour." As he said this, he poured the dirty water of their washing on his head, and immediately not only his head but his whole body was restored to complete health. He lived strong and healthy for many years afterwards, taking part in preaching and work in the convent.
4.24.6 (116) Among the other blessed of the convent of Ghent, is Blessed John Agnus, a man greatly absorbed in God. He was so holy that, even while living, he was noted for miracles. He was formerly so well known that even today at Lille and Bruges he is regarded as one of the blessed of our Order, and so he is depicted there in tapestry. But we do not know which particular miracles were associated with him, either because our elders did not record them or mad unbelievers destroyed the records. But everyone knows that the painting in the refectory at Ghent reflects an authentic miracle: For the whole island of Goes (117) was within the territory of that convent and its preachers used to be sent there.
In the parish of Elfidia there happened to be a solemn prayer rally, in which the Lord's cross was carried around with very great honour. Blessed John Agnus was sent there, but because of a storm no boatman would dare or desire to put his ship out. Realizing that he could not carry out his mission any other way, he trusted in the Lord and spread his cappa on the angry sea, stood on it, while his companion of the third order knelt next to him. He then made the sign of the cross and the two went across smoothly over the rough waters.
While they were crossing, the pastor, watchman and sacristan were all at work cleaning and decorating the church, when a voice spoke to them, "Honour the man whom God is honouring; see, your preacher is coming." They immediately had the bell rung and the people came out in procession, carrying their cross, to meet the two brothers as they came in on their cappa.
The whole scene, attributing the miracle to him, was then painted on the wall of the church. This brother died in 1296, as indicated in the catalogue of the deceased of the convent of Ghent. He had been prior there around 1272.
76. This chapter, known as the chapter of tears, was celebrated in 1230, two years after the establishment of the Province of the Holy Land.
77. See Part 6.
78. This happened in 1219.
79. This is Brother Giles of Spain.
80. Latin for Psalm 27:12.
81. In J:50 a similar version of the same story is said of St. Dominic.
82. Of Alphonse, king of Castile.
83. Cf. Canticles 5:14.
84. This section is taken from the Appendix, n. 6.
85. At that time the novices at Bologna were Brothers Ventura and Stephen of Spain. Each of them later in turn became provincial of Lombardy.
86. This section is from the Appendix, number 9.
87. Reginald came to Bologna on 21 December 1218 and remained there until the end of October 1219. The feast of St. Stephen is on 26 December.
88. The brother in question is Humbert of Romans.
89. 30 November 1225.
90. On 22 February 1226.
91. The two are Blessed Jordan and Brother Henry.
92. Homily of Pope Saint Gregory on Luke 21, on the first Sunday of Advent.
93. The 8th responsory of Matins for the second Sunday of Advent.
94. The brother in question is John of Columna.
95. Near Milan.
96. Gregory IX in 1239 excommunicated Frederick II, who was at war against the Pope.
97. This passage is about Albert the Great.
98. "et equitantes vel in rubeis vestibus" - meaning not clear.
99. One manuscript identifies him as Florent of France.
100. The meaning given by the Vulgate text.
101. Henry, the younger, entered the Order with Blessed Jordan on 12 February 1220. A convent was established at Cologne in 1221 or 1222. See the Chronicle for 1222. This passage is taken from the book of Blessed Jordan on the beginning of the Order.
102. In 1220 or 1221.
103. Brother Bernard; see index for other references to this case.
105. This section is about Thomas Aquinas, who was kidnapped in 1243.
106. See below, Book 5, ch. 1, # 2.
107. See 3.30.
108. Brother Nicholas of Giovinazzo.
109. Thomas Aquinas, whose was regent-master at Paris from 1256 to 1259 and again from 1268 to 1272. He was canonized in 1323, well after this book was written.
110. In 1256, when he moved from being a sententiarius to the rank of master.
111. St. Albert the Great; he was provincial of Germany from 1254 to 1259.
112. The Latin has "abbot".
113. In 1259.
114. This section is from the Appendix, number 12.
115. He preached the crusade in 1225 and 1227.
116. This section is from the Appendix, number 13.
117. A town on the islands of east Denmark.