Saint Bernard the Wonderworker : More Miracles in Milan
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The news of the events at Milan were soon spread abroad, and the reputation of the holy man was diffused through Italy. It was everywhere announced that a great prophet had arisen, powerful in works and words, who healed the sick, and delivered the possessed, by the power of Jesus Christ. But as the crowd which thronged around his doors from morning till night seriously inconvenienced and almost stifled him, he appeared from the window of his house, and from thence he raised his hands to bless the people. Many persons had come in from the neighboring towns and villages ; and all, strangers no less than citizens, followed the man of God wherever he went, eager to see and hear him, and to witness his miracles.
One day, when he was in a vast hall amidst a number of persons who crowded around him, a man of distinguished dress and appearance made strenuous efforts to approach him, but without success. At length, by alternately crawling on his hands and feet, and climbing on the shoulders of those who were before him, he succeeded in opening a way through the crowd, and falling at the knees of the man of God, he covered them with kisses. The venerable Rainald, who was standing by (and I have this fact from his lips), tried to put an end to this scene, knowing that such demonstrations were very painful to Bernard ; but the man, who remained prostrate, turned to him, and said in a loud voice : “Suffer me to contemplate and touch this servant of God, this truly apostolic man ; for I say unto you, and I affirm it on the faith of a Christian, that I have seen this apostle in the midst of the apostles of Christ.” Rainald was struck with astonishment, and he would have inquired further about this vision, but refrained out of respect for St. Bernard’s presence. It may be conceived what an effect was produced on the multitude by this incident.”
“The saint,” writes another chronicler, ” had no longer any repose, because all who were troubled found their rest in his labor and weariness. Those who left his presence, met other visitors who came to see him ; and there was an uninterrupted succession of persons who came to ask favors of him. He restored a number of persons to health; he cured some by giving them holy water to drink; others by his touch alone ; and, in the same city, in presence of various witnesses, he obtained from the Father of lights the power of restoring sight to the blind, by making the sign of the cross upon them.
Amongst the numerous persons who came from all quarters to Milan, a noble knight brought a little girl to the servant of God, who had such a horror of the daylight that, although she always kept her eyelids closed, she also held her hands over her eyes, fearing lest the smallest ray might strike on them ; for the light penetrated even to her brain, And caused her to utter fearful cries. Bernard blessed the child, and making the sign of the cross upon her, he sent her away in a more tranquil state ; but whilst they were carrying her home, she opened her eyes, and continued her journey on foot, without needing any assistance.
Amidst the unwonted honors which were heaped upon him, this great man, who was an object of unexampled veneration, who commanded kings and people, and bore, alone, all the burden of his age, remained, as it were, dead and motionless on the moving scene to which he gave life, and never raised himself above the simplicity of his state. So that, if there was anything in him which was more admirable than his works, it was that profound humility with which he exercised the kind of omnipotence which God had conferred on him for the edification of the Church. He seemed completely indifferent to the glory, honor, and reverence which he received on all sides ; deaf and insensible to the praises of the world. He was also continually subject to acute bodily sufferings; these pains were very dear to him, because they reminded him constantly of the common fate of all mortals; and he knew, by the experience of the great apostle, that virtue is made perfect in infirmity.
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Saint Bernard the wonder worker, excerpts from the Life and Times of Saint Bernard by Abbot Theodore Ratisbonne and Heroic Virtue: A Portion of the Treatise of Benedict XIV on the Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God Volume III.
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