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CHAPTER XXVIII

Of his happy passing from this world and his burial in the Church

(1)

IESUS, out ot his abundant kindness, doth stablish and redeem the faithful, and hath most surely promised them Eternal life and a full recompense, saying: “Everyone that hath forsaken father or mother or other earthly ties for my Name’s Sake shall receive an hundredfold and shall possess life everlasting.” He therefore saw fit as a reward to the holy Florentius His faithful servant—who was adorned with many virtues and had been proved by divers burdens and infirmities—to deliver him out of the prison house of this flesh, and to remove him to His own Kingdom in Heaven, whereat the Angels did rejoice.

(2) So when Florentius by his counsel and aid had founded as many devout Communities and Monasteries as he could and had instructed the lowly flock of his own house in the ordinances of peace and brotherly love according to Christ’s good pleasure, and had carefully guarded them therein, he began inwardly to sigh and ardently to long to see the citizens of the heavenly country and the glory of Christ, toward Whom he had confidence in all things, and Whom he loved above all else.

Wherefore with true devotion he asked that the Body of the Lord should be administered to him, and gazing thereupon with faith unwavering, and adoring the same with the reverence that is due, 145he said: “Oh! my Beloved Lord God, pardon me that I have so often touched and received Thee so unworthily.” At these words many were pricked to the heart and wept, and one of the Canons who heard his words groaned deeply, saying: “Then what should I say, miserable sinner that I am, if a man so good doth feel and say such things about himself!”

But Florentius, having received the Very Body of God, and being fortified with the grace of Christ, gave himself up wholly to the good pleasure of God, and so long as he could speak he poured forth words of most wholesome comfort to his beloved Sons and Brothers.

(3) Amongst other things worthy to be remembered, he commended the unity of Brotherly Love, saying: “All who dwell in one house should be one in thought, should hold one purpose in the Lord, and should ever aim at conforming to one standard, without varying, in simple obedience to their superior. Wheresoever the Brothers do strive in fervency of spirit to be of one mind and to conform themselves in all things by the pattern of Christ’s humility, there is peace, there is spiritual progress, there is a house well ordered. Abide in your lowly simplicity and Christ shall abide with you.”

After this holy exhortation he set one of his priests over the whole Community, lest they, the Lord’s flock, should remain without a director, and being set amid the waves of the world, should be as a ship that hath not a proper helm; therefore he set over them Amilius, a devout man, wise and learned, and one that was not backward in zeal for God and for the salvation of souls, bidding that each one of them should have recourse to him, 146and obey him willingly. When he had quietly settled these and other matters he came to the last moment of this present life, for his bodily weakness was increasing.

(4) Now the most sacred Festival of the Annunciation was at hand, for this was the Vigil of that Feast, in honour of the glorious Mother of God, most Blessed Mary, ever Virgin! Most Holy Mother of Jesus Christ, whom Florentius the devout Vicar of her Son had ever loved with deep devotion. So, after the hour of Compline, when the customary Antiphon had been chanted in honour of Our Lady, and the Angelus had rung at the close of day he made an end of his life on earth while the Brothers round him prayed with sighs and tears. It was no marvel that they did so, for the might of their deep love constrained them to weep when their most beloved Father, the light and mirror of all the devout, the comforter of all that were troubled, was taken away from the light of temporal day, yet when they that loved him thought upon the sober and modest life of this most excellent priest, their pious faith did comfort them with the hope that glory in heaven should not be denied him, through Jesus Christ, Whom he had loved with all his heart, to Whom he had clung continually till the very instant of death, and served with the full devotion of faith.

(5) So Master Florentius, this Priest beloved of God and man, passed from this world in the fourteen hundredth year after the Incarnation of the Lord, during the reign of Pope Boniface IX, being forty-nine years old as I reckon, or but little more. He lived in good and holy conversation for nearly sixteen years after the death of the venerable Master Gerard, and during this time he gathered 147much fruit among the people of God, in Deventer and the whole Diocese of Utrecht. For his laudable life, let Christ Who adorned our time with a star of so bright a lustre, be praised and glorified for evermore.

On the day following the Canons and Clerks assembled, and the poor body, worn by long-continued chastisement, was carried by the Canons and Priests in procession to the Church of St. Lebuin and there interred with the rites proper to burial and all reverence, before that Altar in the Church which is dedicated in honour of St. Paul. The chosen Priest of God, as became a humble servant of Christ, had himself desired to be buried in the Cemetery with the Brothers who had died before him, and that no further honour should be paid him; but that Reverend Master Rambert, the Dean of Deventer, would by no means allow this, but determined rather, and that most rightly, that he should be buried with honour in a prominent place within that Church of which he had been a priest notable for virtue and adorned with learning.

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