On this Holy Night may the infant Jesus give you peace and joy. It was on this night in 1223 three years before his death that St. Francis of Assisi had his friend prepare a place to celebrate the birth of Jesus up in the mountains in a little hamlet called Greccio in Italy. I visited there about five years ago and I was greatly moved by the peacefulness and simplicity of that place.
About fifteen days before Christmas Francis told his friend to carefully make ready what I tell you for I wish to enact the memory of that babe who was born in Bethlehem to see as much as is possible with my own bodily eyes the discomfort of his infant needs. On that Christmas eve night that friend of Francis saw a little child lying lifeless in the manger and saw the holy man of God (Francis) approach the child and wake him from deep sleep. Thomas of Celano who wrote the 1st life of St. Francis shortly after his death records this event and goes on to say: “Nor is this vision unfitting, since in the hearts of many the child Jesus has been given over to oblivion. Now he is awakened and impressed on their loving memory by His own grace through His holy servant Francis.” Many would say to day that Jesus is completely forgotten in the hearts of many.
We need more men to follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, men who will help our present Pope Francis to rebuild the Church as Francis of Assisi did in his day. We need men who through the grace of God will impress on the hearts of many the Good News of the Gospel.
If you are interested in being part of this ‘Rebuilding Project’ why not contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wishing you and yours every blessing for Christmas.
God is with you.