V. THE CHARGE OF HERESY

Chi mi voleva fritto e chi arrosto. SAN BERNARDINO*

IN the spring of 1426, when Bernardino was preaching a course of Lenten Sermons in Viterbo, an unexpected summons reached him: Pope Martin V required his immediate presence in Rome.11 He at once realized why he had been called there. "They say," he told his congregation, "that I am a heretic and there is a strong report that I am to be burned with fire - and so I beseech you to pray to Almighty God for me." Then, shaking off with some difficulty the most ardent of his admirers, who wished to go with him and defend him, he set off with his little ass for Rome.22

The reason for his summons was an innovation which he had introduced some years before to his congregation in Bologna and which had already caused several attacks upon his orthodoxy: an especial devotion - symbolized in an emblem which he himself had designed - for the Holy Name of Jesus. Fra Bernardino himself always stoutly denied any intention of introducing a new cult, saying that it was to be found not only in the writings of St. Paul and of the "Doctors" (in particular, Duns Scotus), and in the hymn, Jesu Dulcis Memoria, attributed to St. Bernard,3 but also in the teachings of St. Francis. He told his congregation in Siena that St. Francis' devotion to the very name of Jesus was so great that once, when St. Anthony of Padua was preaching about "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews," St. Francis suddenly appeared to him in a vision, giving him his blessing.4 No doubt, too, Fra Bernardino had read Tommaso da Celano's two Lives of St. Francis, in which St. Francis' especial devotion to his Saviour was described. "He was always preoccupied with Jesus," says one passage. "He bore Jesus in his heart, his mouth, his eyes and ears" - and the biographer added that

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