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 The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 256 

contrite in his piety,
and overcome with wondrous joy.a
Over the manger the solemnities of the Mass are celebrated
and the priest enjoys a new consolation.

86 The holy man of God is dressed in the vestments of the Levites, since he was a Levite, and with full voice sings the holy gospel.b Here is his voice: a powerful voice, a pleasant voice, Sg 2:14 a clear voice, a musical voice, inviting all to the highest of gifts. Then he preaches to the people standing around him and pours forth sweet honey about the birth of the poor King and the poor city of Bethlehem. Moreover, burning with excessive love, he often calls Christ the "babe from Bethlehem" whenever he means to call Him Jesus. Saying the word "Bethlehem" in the manner of a bleating sheep, he fills his whole mouth with sound but even more with sweet affection. He seems to lick his lips whenever he uses the expressions "Jesus" or "babe from Bethlehem," tasting the word on his happy palate and savoring the sweetness of the word. The gifts of the Almighty are multiplied there and a virtuous man sees a wondrous vision.c For the man saw a little child lying lifeless in the manger and he saw the holy man of God approach the child and waken him from a deep sleep. Nor is this vision unfitting, since in the hearts of many the child Jesus has been given over to oblivion. Ps 31:13 [Vulgate, Ps 30:13] Now he is awakened and impressed on their loving memory by His own grace through His holy servant Francis. At length, the night's solemnities draw to a close and everyone went home with joy.

87 The hay placed in the manger there was preserved afterwards so that, through it, the Lord might restore to health the pack animals and the other animals there, as He multiplied his holy mercy. It came to pass in the surrounding area that many of the animals, suffering from various diseases, were freed from their illnesses when they ate some of this hay. What is more, women who had been suffering with long and hard labor had an easy delivery after they placed some of this hay upon

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 361-362


pietate contritus
et mirabili gaudio superfusus.
11Celebrantur missarum solemnia supra praesaepe
et nova fruitur consolatione sacerdos.

861Induitur sanctus Dei leviticis ornamentis, quia levita erat, et voce sonora sanctum Evangelium cantat. 2Et quidem vox eius, 'vox vehemens, vox dulcis , vox clara, voxque sonora', cunctos invitans ad praemia summa. 3Praedicat deinde populo circumstanti et de nativitate pauperis Regis et Bethlehem parvula civitate melliflua ructat. 4Saepe quoque cum vellet Christum « Iesum » nominare, amore flagrans nimio, eum « puerum de Bethlehem » nuncupabat, et more balantis ovis « Bethlehem » dicens, os suum voce sed magis dulci affectione totum implebat. 5Labia sua etiam cum « puerum de Bethlehem » vel « Iesum » nominaret, quasi lambebat lingua, felici palato degustans et deglutiens dulcedinem verbi huius. 6Multiplicantur ibi dona Omnipotentis et a quodam viro virtutis mirabilis visio cernitur. 7Videbat enim in praesaepio puerulum unum iacentem exanimem, ad quem videbat accedere sanctum Dei et eumdem puerum quasi a somni sopore suscitare. 8Nec inconveniens visio ista cum puer Iesus in multorum cordibus oblivioni fuerit datus in quibus, ipsius gratia faciente, per servum suum sanctum Franciscum resuscitatus est et impressus memoriae diligenti. 9Finiuntur denique solemnes excubiae et unusquisque cum gaudio ad propria remeavit.

871Conservatur foenum in praesaepio positum, ut per ipsum iumenta et animalia salva faciat Dominus quemadmodum multiplicavit misericordiam suam sanctam. 2Et revera sic actum est ut animalia multa, diversos morbos habentia, per circumadiacentem regionem, manducantia de hoc foeno, a suis sint aegritudinibus liberata. 3Immo et mulieres, partu gravi ac longo laborantes, de praedicto foeno sibi superimponentes, partu pariunt salutari:

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 256

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