Calling to Memory the Little Child

On Christmas Eve we recall with Thomas of Celano, St. Francis's first biographer, that “his highest intention was to observe the holy Gospel in all things and . . . ‘to follow the teaching and the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ The humility of the incarnation and the love of the passion occupied his memory particularly.

What he did on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ near the little town called Greccio in the third year before his glorious death (1223) should be noted and recalled with reverent memory. . . He told his friend John, 'Go with haste and diligently prepare what I tell you. For I wish to do something that will call to memory the little Child who was born in Bethlehem and set before our bodily eyes in some way the hardships of his infant needs, how he lay in a manger, how, with an ox and an ass standing by, he lay upon the hay where he had been placed.'"

For the full account from Thomas of Celano, and a very nice reflection by Secular Franciscan Bret Thoman, see: