Order of Premontre, Premonstratensians, Norbertines, and White Canons

07 Chapters 31-40

07 Chapters 31-40

Chapter XXXI

The Demoniac Healed at Maastricht.

After the confreres had been worn out in strange and various ways and had been disturbed by the skillful cleverness of this demon, the demon himself, impatient with all the lack of disturbance, was unwilling to give in to the peaceful calm. Since he found no opportunity for his seduction among the simple, by easy flight -- as he is light and fast by nature -- he quickly crossed over to Maastricht[31-1] where Father Norbert was. There satan seized upon a man who was the steward of a nobleman. As he was not able to break up the battle line which he had left in good order, at least he could shoot weapons at the standard bearer and through him try to deal a death blow to the battle line.

69. Each year there was a festival celebrated in that city and the people would gather for the occasion. Many had already arrived and the Priest of God, Norbert, was celebrating Mass in the cathedral where most of the people were. Present also, from the Seclret prayer on, was the man who had been seized by the devil. He made all sorts of loud disturbances and could scarcely be held under control.

After Mass was ended the man was brought to Norbert with much encouragement from the people who were present and who awaited a contest between the Soldier of Christ and the devil. Still clothed in the sacred vestments and, even more, girded with the strength of the Holy Spirit, the breastplate of justice and faith and fortified with the shield of truth, Norbert went forth to do battle with this very disquieting enemy.

However, when some of the confreres standing there told him that he should space his health since it was now evening and that this was a chance incident and not all cases could be helped, he was disturbed and sternly rejected their proposal saying: "You are not aware, brothers, you are not aware, I say, that through the envy of the devil death has entered the world.[31-2]  Death has continued in the world and has no intention of leaving. For this purpose satan inflicts himself on the world so frequently and in such a troublesome way that I grow angry. He causes the Word of God, which I have provided, to grow worthless in the hearts of those who hear it. Although he is unable to do so in secret, through his innate arrogance he openly strives to take this Word away from those who have received it. Haven't you heard the Word of the Lord, who says that: "The devil comes to take the seed of the Word of God from their hearts?"[31-3]

70. After he said this the possessed man was placed before the altar and Norbert began the exorcism compelling the demon to leave. When the priest had placed the blessed salt in his mouth, the man lunged forward and spat in his face, saying: "You have suggested that I be placed in water and beaten with harsh whips almost to the point of death. Your efforts are in vain. Your whips do not harm me, your threats do not frighten me, death does not torture nor do the chains of death bind me." The suggestion, as mentioned, had been made that he be placed in holy water although the raging man was not there when it was said.

When, therefore, the clergy and people were standing around -- some out of curiosity, some out of piety -- the evil demon, through the mouth of the possessed man, began to reveal the reprobate lives of many, recalling their adultery and fornication. Whatever had not been hidden by confession was now revealed by his malicious mouth. Hearing this, everyone began to scatter this way and that; only a few remained with Father Norbert.  

As the day was coming to a close, it now being evening, those who were present, weary from the fasting and vigils of the preceding night, forced Norbert to go to his residence in order to rest a little and revive his exhausted body with food and be refreshed with sleep.  While Norbert sat at dinner with his confreres and some guests, it was announced that the sick man was sitting quietly and unbound before the altar and was asking pardon for his dishonorable actions and curses. They gave thanks to God, for truly that night and the next day he appeared to be cured.

71. There was a mortal hatred among the citizens of that same town. Father Norbert spent the entire next day working to bring peace. With the help of God's grace, everything was completely settled peacefully and quietly. Immediately, the devil who had been expelled from their hearts, freely departing, entered the same wretched man who appeared to be cured. The man once again began to scream and rage.

When the Priest of God returned from the church, those standing there said: "Are you not aware that this possessed man of yesterday is raging again? Unless he is helped as soon as possible and cured quickly he will perish, consumed by his own fury." The Man of God responded: "For the present he will not be able to be freed from his tormentor because this is happening to him due to his sins" -- he bore the office of steward of an estate -- "and he was given over to his tormentor deservedly. Leave him alone now. After the devil vexes him for some days and the man has made atonement the devil will more easily be cast out."

The wise man, who was experienced in doing battle with unclean spirits, pernitted him to be tormented and distressed for three days. When he was freed from the devil by God's mercy, with sound mind, he returned home unharmed.

Chapter XXXII

The Conversion of Count Godfrey.

72. At that time, when Norbert's reputation was spreading far and wide because of his distinguished deeds, Godfrey[32-1], a very powerful count of Westphalia, was stung by the spirit of poverty. Godfrey came to Norbert because he had heard much about him. But when he found Norbert to be even greater, through the instruction of the Holy Spirit who was working through him, Godfrey revealed his entire plan and desire to him. He who had already devoted himself totally to God interiorly is now, without delay, taught exteriorly about leaving everything and embracing voluntary poverty.

Godfrey was wealthy, powerful in arms, inasmuch as he was a young man, well-endowed with many estates, servants and handmaids. He immediately renounced all of the above and handed over himself and all his property to God to be disposed of through the hands of the Man of God. He made one stipulation, that his own house, namely the fortress of Cappenberg[32-2], be changed and consecrated, so that where the curse of vice had reigned, the consecration of divine blessing might make it a place of virtue.

What should the young man, who was about to fight a very serious battle, do? I rightly said a very serious battle because he had a wife[32-3] and a younger brother[32-4] who in every way objected to whatever he had decided to do. His vassals, servants and handmaids, as well as all the servants of his household objected. Count Frederick[32-5], his wife's father, objected and said that the donation which Godfrey had made was in great part from his daughter's dowry. What should I say? His hand was against all of them and the hand of all of them was against him[32-6]. A war was being waged, not with material weapons but with faith, not with combat but with reasoning, not with a multitude of armed men but with the help of angels. Godfrey was armed with the helmet of heavenly hope and equipped with the breastplate of heavenly courage.

Finally, humble insistence, which the hope of heavenly beatitude and perfect humility had conveniently planted and attended, won the day. His wife consented and his brother, putting aside his lion-like fury assumed the meekness of a lamb and both took up the habit of religion which they knew Count Godfrey wanted. Father Norbert rejoiced, and the Count rejoiced. After rendering to Caesar all that was Caesar's and retaining for God what was God's[32-7], from his own properties Godfrey constructed three churches under Father Norbert's direction. Confreres were assigned to these churches and religious life was organized there. Although the service of God was carefully performed there, the temptation and persecution of evil spirits was not lacking.

73. Because the fortress of Cappenberg held control of Westphalia, Count Frederick, the father of Godfrey's wife, partly to indulge his ambition, alleged that this was his daughter's dowry and threatened the confreres with death unless they departed as quickly as possible. He came there with his horsemen several times and threatened that if he should get hold of Father Norbert he would hang him up with his donkey so that he could see on the scale which of them was the heavier. Bishops and other princes who were present spoke against such boastful speech, and for such words threatened him with the wrath of God. By now Father Norbert was held in high esteem by all in the Rhine area and beyond, and they objected to anyone threatening or speaking ill of him.

The confreres of Cappenberg, in their difficulty, not having anyone, except God, to free them from the hand of the powerful and wicked sent to their spiritual father to help them and at the same time informed him of the boastful words of this proud man. When he received the message, he gathered all his strength of faith and hope in Him and through Him who said: "Have confidence, I have overcome the world."[32-8] He entrusted himself completely to Him, and publicly announced that he, with his donkey, was going to enter that territory and place himself in the Count's power. What more? Although the journey was long, he did not turn his donkey around.[32-9]  Crossing the Rhine, unarmed and powerless, he soon entered the territory of Count Frederick with his donkey. While this same Frederick sat at dinner, his stomach burst open.[32-10] Not long after, that very fierce enemy died, seized by a feebleness, and rendered up both the end of his wickedness and his life.

It should be noted, therefore, who and whose soldier he was who, while sitting on a donkey and brandishing the sword of God's wrath from a distance, pierced the enemy to avenge himself and his confreres and triumphed over the inhuman tyrant. Thus peace was brought about and when God-fearing confreres had been chosen he arranged for the perpetual service of God in three churches, as mentioned, from the same property, namely Cappenberg, Ilbenstadt[32-11] and Varlar[32-12], in which a congregation of many brothers and sisters thrives to the present day and a praiseworthy religious life flourishes in the worship of God.

Chapter XXXIII

Theobaldthe Illustrious Count of Blois.

74. Many things can be told about such a father but still very many things are omitted because one individual[33-1] cannot know everything that God has worked through him. Norbert was truly a lighted lamp, quite remarkable for modern times, a light not under a basket[33-2] but placed on a mountain. Both in Germany and in France his name was greatly regarded and well-known.

Hence, when Norbert returned to France the report about the conversion of Count Godfrey had spread about to the amazement of all because he had entered religious life and put on a habit. He had destroyed his fortresses and released the soldiery of his fortresses and his entire court and had handed everything over to the service of God.

Greatly moved by the example of this man, Count Theobald[33-3], a very noble prince of France, approached the Man of God in like manner to seek advice about his salvation and the remission of his sins. He considered the eloquence of the Man of God and the refinement of his face and the maturity of his words and responses. His heart was so filled with goodness for the love of God and all meekness that he immediately subjected himself completely with all his possessions to the authority of the Man of God. He was himself a prudent and learned man and laudably gathered sound doctrine[33-4] and the wisdom of God's word wisely in his heart. On the other hand, the Man of God saw the noble heart of this generous prince and the noble and devout oblation which he offered of himself, and the burnt-offering which he made of all his property and riches. Taking a few days to respond, Norbert commended this plan intently to the Lord God.

75. Norbert understood that this prince had very ample resources and many fortresses and all these could not easily be dismantled and handed over to some religious order, both on account of the weakening of the kingdom and because of the ruination of many other noble princes who were vassals under this prince. Norbert had also heard that the Count was very generous in giving alms and in building churches, monasteries and other buildings for religious, as well as giving much aid in other necessities. He had heard likewise that he was the father of orphans, spouse of widows, steward of the poor and a comfort to lepers. Norbert, prudent in all things, did not presume to alter the practice of this man's life. He considered him chosen by God as a servant to all these people.

The Count was expecting a response about contempt of the world and renunciation of all things. But the Man of God, after reflecting, took his counsel from God and said: "It shall not be so. You will bear the yoke of the Lord, as you began, along with the yoke of married life, and your offspring will inherit your vast territory with the blessing of your forefathers. It is not permitted to us to destroy in you what the divine plan, before all ages, holds for you in these last times."

To this the prince responded: "Reverend Father, if you affirm that the will of God requires this 'the Lord's is the earth and its fullness'[33-5] -- when one should not take anything from it without His permission. Because this command is from Him, I must not object. However, know this for certain, I will marry no one except her whom, through you, the Lord God wishes to join to me."

Let the listener consider, therefore, how great the virtue of discretion was in Norbert who, concerning two princes, caused one to give up everything, but ordered the other to possess everything as though having nothing.[33-6]  He observed in the one that he took from the poor what did not belong to him, but in the other that he did not cease to give to those in need what was his own.

Chapter XXXIV

The Journey to Rome and How Norbert Found a Wife for the Count.

At that time the Man of God decided on a journey to Rome to establish the way of life for his confreres and to confirm the goods which had been given to him by God. Taking along the legates of Count Theobald he went with them as far as Regensburg.[34-1]   The bishop of that city[34-2] was of very noble lineage and he had a very powerful brother, Engelbert[34-3], a margrave, who had daughters of marriageable age. Norbert asked for and obtained one of them for marriage to Count Theobald.

76. The legates returned to announce this. Father Norbert continued his journey and arrived in Rome where he was honorably received by Pope Honorius[34-4] of blessed memory. Norbert obtained from him whatever he reasonably requested. After everything was settled and he was thinking about his return, one night very early in the morning when he was meditating on God along with certain of his companions whom he had with him as a comfort for his journey, a voice was clearly heard by them announcing that he would be the bishop of Magdeburg.[34-5]  Hearing this they wondered and were amazed but none of them dared to say, one to the other, what he had heard.

Norbert had sent one of his clerics on ahead to announce his return to Count Theobald and to bring back a response as to what he wanted regarding the marriage that had been arranged for him and which he had already heard about through his legates. While returning Norbert chanced to pass through the city of Wiirzburg[34-6] which at that time lacked a bishop.[34-7]  It was Easter[34-8] and the people and clergy persuaded him to celebrate it with them. Finally he agreed to stay. While he was celebrating the high Mass on the Holy Day and he reached the point of consuming the most holy Body and Blood of the Lord, a blind woman, who was known to everyone, approached him. He breathed on her eyes with his breath, recently suffused with the Blood of the Lord, and she received her sight. All the people who were present extolled the greatness of God in a loud voice. Some of the rich prominent citizens of the city were so touched by what happened and inflamed with the love of God that they gave themselves and their possessions to God through Norbert. Through their generosity a church[34-9] was built there and it is well-known for its divine worship even to the present time.

Recalling the voice which they had heard in Rome, the Man of God and his confreres quickly left the city. Because the names of either city, Parthenopolis (Magdeburg) and Herbipolis (Wiirzburg), end with "- polis" (-burg), he feared to be made bishop by those who glorified him beyond measure because of the magnificent work of God which took place there.

Chapter XXXV

The Demoniac Healed at Viviers.[35-1]

77. After Norbert had received authority from the Roman Pontiff concerning his proposed foundation and established way of life he returned to Prémontré, the place of his poverty. He immediately confirmed what he had done previously, namely made arrangements for the Church of Blessed Martin, located in the suburb of Laon, to be under an abbot although it was still in great poverty. However much this church shall grow as a spiritual and temporal edifice, and in whatever region it shall take root, let the trees sprung from it and spread throughout the diverse nations of the earth proclaim this fact. Let the sweetly fragrant fruit from these trees proclaim it also, and let those who have seen all this and have worked on it, succeeding each other forever, bear witness to succeeding generations.

Norbert also arranged for an abbot to be assigned to the Church at Viviers which he had accepted in the district of Soissons.[35-2] Upon the arrival of his confreres, the demon who was pursuing him immediately took possession of a man. As Scripture says: "Indeed Assur came with them."[35-3]  With the help of God, Father Norbert freed him in this way. The man, as he had done yesterday and the day before, went out to do his farming. As he grew thirsty from the increased heat and labor he went to a nearby spring. When he bent over to drink he saw a huge hideous shadow in the water. He was terrified by what he saw and refrained from drinking the water. Standing up straight he saw an oversized image of a man who asked in a frightening manner whose vassal he was. Then the image disappeared and the man was immediately beset by the demon and began to act wildly.

78. It was the afternoon and the man was near the village. He was found around evening and brought in bound. Father Norbert looked at him carefully and said: "You see how the evil spirit, who envies everything good, tries to make us hateful even in this place? He strives to sow such reports so that this infamy might accompany our arrival. The fact that this misfortune comes at the beginning is a sign that, by the grace of God, it will not prevail."

Norbert then began to make the sign of the cross over the man and exorcise him until he quieted and spoke sanely. In prayer, he asked the Holy Mother of God, in whose honor the church was dedicated, to take pity on the man. Seeing this, those who were standing about greatly rejoiced, thanking God and saying: "Blessed be God! Now our father can really rest a bit because he arrived weary, coming recently from a long journey." But he who, as has often been said, had the discernment of spirits, coming closer, sensed a very foul odor coming from the nostrils of the possessed man. He said: "It is not as you think. This evil spirit never departed but hides in this reed and speaks false words out of fear of the divine power so that he might not be expelled. When we go away he will torment this poor man more severely. Nevertheless, it is not without cause that this man has been handed over to the power of the enemy. Let us permit him this night to discharge his due punishment with vexation. Let us pray for him and perhaps tomorrow God will take pity on him." And so it happened.

But the truth of the matter and the indications of the subsequent truth proved the priest's words true. For as they departed the man who was possessed began to hiss and rage more evilly than he had done before. The next day, however, the Man of God returned to him and, in front of a large crowd which stood there as though watching a spectacle, the sick man was rendered healthy by the grace of God and returned to his own home in full possession of his senses.

Chapter XXXVI

The Heretic Tanchehm and Antwerp.

79. What was said about this demoniac was a digression so that whatever events took place might, as far as possible, be told in their right order and place. We must not fail to explain why Norbert was called to accept the church at Antwerp.

Antwerpwas and is a very large and populated city in which there was only one priest who had the care of all the people living there. Because of the great multitude and his constant negligence he was unable to do so, however. Neither was he trusted because he had made his niece, in the third degree, a partner in his crime by taking her as a carnal companion in marriage. For this reason the people, like a flock without a shepherd, wandered about in many false errors.

Hence it happened that a heretic, a seducer by the name of Tanchelm, who was remarkably shrewd and cunning, came there and found a place among these people for his false teaching. He was the most evil of all men, an enemy of God and his sacraments. He opposed religion and the Christian faith to such a degree that he declared that obedience to bishops and priests was not necessary and he denied that the reception of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ was a benefit to eternal salvation. And he led the people, who for a long time now had not had the truth of these matters preached to them, into the same error.

They believed him and about three thousand armed men followed him. There was neither duke nor bishop nor any prince who dared to resist or go against him or appear before him unless he was one of his followers. He went about magnificently garbed in gilded clothing with a triple cord woven into his hair which was triply braided with a band of rich embroidery. With persuasive words and banquets of great splendor he seduced them and won them over.

Strange and astonishing! They drank his bath water and carried it away, preserving it like a relic. And when he violated daughters in the presence of their mothers, and spouses, while their husbands looked on, he claimed it was a spiritual work. He even went so far as to say that whoever did not merit this nefarious union was unfortunate. This most foul and detestable abomination of seduction could not be wiped out even after the death of this heretic, even though a congregation of twelve clerics was assigned there by the bishop[36-1] to help the priest who was alone in the Church of St. Michael.

80. Then the clerics, out of charity and forced by evident necessity, through the bishop, gave this church with some of its income to Father Norbert and his confreres. They trusted that God, through the merits of Norbert and his confreres, would remove the fury of the deadly plague and, with the darkness of ignorance dispelled, would restore the light of truth. The church was accepted, therefore, and the clerics built another church[36-2] for themselves in the same city. Both churches remain to this day dedicated to the service of God.

Father Norbert assigned competent confreres there to apply life-giving medicine to the deadly wound. They began to sow the Word of God[36-3] and offer the people words which were food that was sweeter than honey and the honey comb.[36-4] To the sick they served delicate food and to the weak a bread that strengthened the heart of man[36-5] and offered eternal life. Norbert told them: "Brothers, do not be surprised and do not be afraid. Unwittingly you have pursued falsehood thinking it to be the truth. If you had been taught the truth first you would have been found effortlessly tending toward salvation, just as you now effortlessly lean toward perdition."  Some of the men and women, therefore, hearing these words and seeing the works which followed, were repentant and returned bringing back the Body of the Lord which they had kept in boxes or niches for ten or fifteen or more years.

Who would not be astonished by this detestable crime? Who would say that it should not be committed to memory for future generations that the depraved seducer falsely led this people astray and that the pious preacher, Norbert, through his own work and that of his confreres, led them back to the way of truth and justice? The listener may think this story is unnecessary but there cannot be a clear transition to what follows unless the testimony of the preceding work makes this transition.

Chapter XXXVII

The Evil Spirit Which Norbert Perceived in the Jug.

81. Among other things I must not forget to mention that one night at Prémontré, in the house of poverty, Norbert sat longer than usual with some confreres who were ill or who had undergone bloodletting. He spoke about the hope of heaven and the glory of happiness, and listened to those who were speaking. In the silence of the night some of them were thirsty. They were sent to the spring to bring water.

When those who had been sent were returning, just as they entered the door of the little cell, the Man of God said: "Why did you bring unclean water here?" Astounded, they were afraid and protested that the vessel had been washed and that they had brought the purest of water. When the water was poured from the jug into a cup, he twice threw the water out of the cup and forbade anyone to taste even a little of it. When the jug was emptied to a third from the bottom, with the help of a light they looked more carefully and saw a large toad crawling around in the cup. They were astounded. They had a right to be astounded and exceedingly amazed both because it was winter when worms of this sort were not usually found, and because the spring was very pure and they recalled that the vessel had been very clean.

Seeing that they were astonished, Father Norbert said: "Why are you surprised? That evil spirit is a thousandfold clever. He pursues us by setting us at odds. Cast him away because the arrogance of his wiles and subtlety are greater than his courage."[37-1] Now, O reader, what must be observed about this man? Could he have met the unclean spirits with this subtle discernment if the infusion and abundant grace of the Holy Spirit had not taught him?


The Wolf Which Was Quickly Tamed.

82. [38-1] At another time when some confreres were in the forest to cut wood they found a wolf devouring a deer. Shouting, they sent him running and took the deer which the wolf in his hunger had captured. They took it home with them and hung it in a corner not suspecting anything. But the wolf followed them as if complaining about the wrong done to him and, at the door of the house which they entered, sat like a house dog and seemed to demand what had been taken from him. Those who were arriving, not knowing what had happened, shouted at the wolf to chase him away, as is usual. But looking at them with a friendly face, he remained unmoved. When the Man of God was told about this, he called together all the confreres and inquired what this was about. He said that such a wild animal would not have assumed this mild appearance without a reason.

Fearful, the confreres who knew the reason came forward and sought pardon as if for a great offence. They explained what had happened and they thought the reason for the wolf's presence was the wrong which they inflicted on him. When the Man of God heard this he said: "Give him back what is his. You have acted unjustly by taking what was not yours." Finally, the wolf, after taking his prey, departed in peace harming no one.

Chapter XXXIX

Another Wolf Which Released a Sheep at the Command of a Boy.

83. A shepherd boy asked what he should do, since he didn't have dogs, if a wolf should steal a sheep from him. Jokingly he was told that on behalf of his master he should command that it dare not take or harm the sheep.

Not long after, this same lad, as usual, was watching the sheep in the field. A wolf came and took one of them and quickly ran off with it. The confrere saw this from a distance and remembering his orders began to shout loudly: "Where are you fleeing faster than usual, most evil thief! Put the sheep down. Put it down, I say. I command you on behalf of my master. Don't harm it, and don't presume to carry it farther." The wolf immediately put it down unharmed and hoisting it on his shoulders the lad hastily carried it back to the others.

84. Whether it was the same young man or another is not known. Nevertheless, it is known that when on another day a clerical confrere had been sent to guard the animals in the field, a wolf stood by them the whole day even while he was present. And as if offering comfort to the guard, the wolf showed no sign of wildness. When evening drew on and it was time to drive the flock in, just as on one side the confrere was forcing the flock to enter, so on the other side the wolf was doing the same.

Once the flock was inside and the confrere had closed the gate leaving the wolf outside, the wolf struck the gate with his paw, as well as he could, as if he were complaining about a wrong done to him and asking that due reward be given to him. He continued to strike the gate showing that he wanted to enter and receive a portion of food.

When the Man of God heard this, he asked: "Why do you not open to a guest who is knocking?" When the answer was given that it was not a guest but a wolf who was imposing himself inconsiderately and none of them could get him to leave, Norbert called the confreres together. He inquired about the occasion for the wolf's coming. When they were all silent, he summoned the cleric whom he had sent in the morning to guard the flock. He asked who had helped him to guard the flock. But the confrere was said to indicate what had happened. Nevertheless he did not dare to conceal what he was asked about. He said: "It is the wild animal who is knocking at the door. It was with me today and helped me guard the flock entrusted to me as if it had been entrusted to him until it was shut behind the gate."

When the Man of God heard this, he said: "Give him some food, he is seeking a reward for the service he gave. The hireling is deserving of his food."[39-1] When, at the command of the Man of God, some meat was tossed to the wolf, he seized upon it, as if for his pay, and left. Not long after, the wolf came and took bread from the hand of a young man who was guarding the calves.

What does this mean, confreres? Wild animals without reasoning grow mild and obey men. Rational man closes his ears and does not obey, as if He who fashioned the eye would not see.[39-2] Unfortunate man does not hear that "when his ways please God, all his enemies will be at peace".[39-3] And elsewhere: "The world will fight against the unwise".[39-4] The Man of God preached this to everyone. He taught this to his men and, in this way flying before them,[39-5] he demonstrated everything by his actions.

Chapter XL

The Brother Who Wanted to Take Hold of Satan; and the Brother by Whom Satan Stood and Who Didn't Dare Get up.

85. As has often been said, the jealous enemy, in various ways, persecuted the battle line which was set up against him. These attacks were so frequent and serious that scarcely any of them dared to go out after nightfall.

When one of the confreres, who was greatly beset and who accused himself of having little faith, became bold and went out alone for the requirements of nature, the demon stood before him in the terrifying likeness of a man. The image that moved was very dark and seemed to threaten to lift him into the air. However, gathering the courage of his faith and resuming his strength of mind, he said to himself: "How long shall I endure the falsehood and fantasies of this most troublesome enemy?"

He got up and just when he went to seize the demon, the latter turned and fled. The confrere quickly pursued the fleeing demon, and coming to a tree which stood nearby he began to struggle with it wishing to hold and bind the demon. But looking from a slight distance he recognized that this was a tree which he knew was there. After overcoming the illusion of this poisonous serpent by his courage of soul, he suffered no fear thereafter.

The demon presumed to approach not only this man but another confrere in like manner, inflicting the same terror. He appeared visibly to him while he was tending to his private needs. Neither of them moved from his place from the beginning until the end of Matins. The worthy uprightness of the confrere finally won out over the perverse insolence of the demon. Standing up, he made the sign of the cross and leapt through the doorway which appeared to be occupied by the demon. When he found no one opposing him, he then realized that such an illusion could harm neither him nor anyone else. He remained free of this false fear. He took hold of the freedom of the Holy Spirit and did not let go of it thereafter.

Other Categories:
Library » Documents » Life of St. Norbert (Vita B) - Translation of 12th Century Manuscript