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 The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 254 

Because he was very humble, he showed meekness to all people, Ti 3:2 and duly adapted himself to the behavior of all. Holy among the holy, among sinners he was like one of them.

Help sinners,
O lover of sinners,
most holy father.
We beg you,
by your glorious prayers,
raise up mercifully
those you see miserable in the filth of misdeeds!

Chapter XXX
THE MANGER HE MADE IN CELEBRATION OF THE LORD'S BIRTHDAY

84 His highest aim, foremost desire, and greatest intention
was to pay heed to the holy gospel in all things and through all things,
to follow the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ
and to retrace His footsteps completely
with all vigilance and all zeal,
all the desire of his soul
and all the fervor of his heart.

Francis used to recall with regular meditation the words of Christ
and recollect His deeds with most attentive perception.
Indeed, so thoroughly did the humility of the Incarnation
and the charity of the Passion
occupy his memory
that he scarcely wanted to think of anything else.

We should note then, as matter worthy of memory and something to be recalled with reverence, what he did, three years prior to his death, at the town of Greccio, on the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. There was a certain man in that area named John who had a good reputation but an even better manner of life. Blessed Francis loved him with special affection, since, despite being a noble in the land and very honored in human society, he had trampled the nobility of the flesh under his feet and pursued instead the nobility of the spirit. As usual, blessed Francis had John summoned to him some fifteen days prior to the birthday of the Lord. "If

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 359-360


Et quia erat humillimus, omnem mansuetudinem ostendebat ad omnes homines, omnium moribus utiliter se conformans. Sanctior inter sanctos, inter peccatores quasi unus ex illis.

12Adiuva igitur peccatores,
peccatorum amator,
pater sanctissime,
et quos cernis miserabiliter in delictorum sordibus iacere, dignare,
quaesumus, misericordissime
tuis gloriosissimis suffragiis relevare.

Caput XXX — De praesaepio quod fecit in die natalis Domini.

841Summa eius intentio, praecipuum desiderium, supremumque propositum.
eius erat sanctum Evangelium in omnibus et per omnia observare
ac perfecte omni vigilantia, omni studio,
toto desiderio mentis,
toto cordis fervore,
« Domini nostri Iesu Christi doctrinam sequi et vestigia » imitari.

2Recordabatur assidua meditatione verborum
eius et sagacissima consideratione ipsius opera recolebat.
3Praecipue incarnationis humilitas
et charitas passionis ita
eius memoriam occupabant,
ut vix vellet aliud cogitare.

4Memorandum proinde ac reverenti memoria recolendum quod tertio anno ante gloriosi obitus sui diem apud castrum quod Graecium dicitur, fecit in die natalis Domini nostri Iesu Christi. 5Erat in terra illa vir a quidam nomine Ioannes, bonae famae sed melioris vitae, quem beatus Franciscus amore praecipuo diligebat, quoniam cum in terra suanobilis et honorabilis plurimum exstitisset, carnis nobilitate calcata, nobilitatem animi est secutus. 6Hunc vero beatus Franciscus, sicut saepe solebat, fere per quindecim dies ante nativitatem Domini fecit ad se vocari 7et dixit ei:

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 254

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