December 24, 2015

Christmas on a Friday

[St. Francis] used to observe the Nativity of the Child Jesus with an immense eagerness above all other solemnities, affirming it was the Feast of Feasts, when God was made a little child and hung on human breasts. he would kiss the images of the baby's limbs thinking of hunger, and the melting compassion of his heart toward the child also made him stammer sweet words as babies do. This name was to him like honey and honeycomb in his mouth.

When there was a discussion about not eating meat, because it was on Friday, he replied to Brother Morico: "You sin, brother, when you call 'Friday' the day when unto us a child is born. I want even the walls to eat meat on that day, and if they cannot, at least on the outside they be rubbed with grease!"

He wanted the poor and hungry to be filled by the rich, and oxen and asses to be spoiled with extra feed and hay. "If I ever speak with the Emperor," he would say, "I will beg him to issue a general decree that all who can should throw wheat and grain along the roads, so that on the day of such a great solemnity, the birds may have an abundance, especially our sisters the larks."

(Thomas of Celano, 2nd Life of St. Francis, Chapter 151, FA:ED II, 374-375)

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