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St. Benedict's Vision

( Originally Published 1913 )

(From Gregory's Dialogues.)

It happened that there came to visit the venerable Benedict, as his custom was, Servandus, the deacon and abbot of the monastery that Liberius the patrician had built in South Lombardy. Indeed, he used to visit Benedict's monastery frequently that in each other's company they might be mutually refreshed with the sweet words of life and the delectable food of the heavenly country, which they could not as yet with perfect bliss enjoy, but did at least in aspiration taste it, insomuch that the said Servandus was likewise abounding in the lore of the heavenly grace. When at length the time was come for their rest and repose, the venerable Benedict was lodged in the upper floor of a tower, and Servandus, the deacon, rested on the lower floor of the same tower. There was a solid staircase with plain steps from the nether floor to the upper floor. There was also in front of the tower a spacious house in which slept the disciples of them both.

When now Benedict, the man of God, was keeping the time of his nightly prayer during his brethren's rest, then stood he all vigilant at a window praying to the Almighty Lord. Then suddenly in that time of nightly stillness, as he looked out, he saw a light sent from on high disperse all the darkness of the night, and shine with a brightness so great that the light which then gleamed in the midst of the darkness was brighter than the light of day. Lo, then in this sight a wonderful thing followed next, as he himself afterwards related;-that even all the world, as if placed under one ray of the sun, was displayed before his eyes. When now the venerable father had fastened his attention on the brightness of that shining light, he saw angels conveying in a fiery group into heaven the soul of Germanus, who was bishop of the city of Capua. He desired then to secure to himself a witness of so great a wonder, and called Servandus the deacon twice and thrice, and repeatedly named his name with loud exclamation. Servandus was disturbed at the unusual outcry of the honored man, and he mounted the stairs and looked as directed, and saw verily a small portion of that light. As the deacon was then amazed for so great a wonder, the man of God related to him in order the things that there had happened; and forthwith he sent orders to the faithful man Theoprobus in Casinum, the chief house, that he in the same night should send a man to the city of Capua, and should ascertain and report to him what had happened about Germanus the bishop. Then it came to pass that he who was sent thither found that the venerable Bishop Germanus had indeed died; and carefully inquiring, he found that his departure was at that very time that the man of God had witnessed his ascent to Heaven.

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