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from issue no. 05 - 2005

From Vita Leonis IX, written in the 9th century

The miracle of Saint Benedict

by Lorenzo Cappelletti

With the face, throat and chest swollen because of those ulcers he was weakened to the point where it was despaired that he would ever again be able to regain his health. Both his parents and his whole household for two entire months remained sadly desolate, and, imagining by now that there would only be death to follow, with incessant sighs and tears, awaited the lugubrious funeral procession. But the good Jesus, who usually gives help in desperate cases, consoled his parents without delay, curing him completely and, according to his promise, remembered his Church which had to be raised up again through him.
He had already spent two months unable to rise from his bed, and by now, with the worsening of the illness, could not even speak for eight days, when one day, while he lay supine, opening his eyes, awake, he saw a luminous ladder that rising by itself from his own bed and, passing through a window that was on the side of his feet, extended itself up to the sky; and on it an old man of great nobility and venerable white hair who descended in a monk’s habit, carrying in his right hand a large cross on a long pole. When he came near the patient, while he held the stairway with the left hand, with the right he first lay the cross on the mouth, then with it he signed all the swollen parts and drew out from behind the ear the pus full of all the poison; and returning immediately afterwards by the way he had arrived he left the patient who felt better. Without delay he spoke to Adalberone, a cleric who at that very moment was seated on his little cot to console him, and sent him to interrupt, by giving the hoped for news, the laments of all the paternal household that had prolonged themselves by now for a long time. Then, after some days, the skin behind the right ear having broken, and all the poison having issued from that pustule, he was completely cured and without any after effects to the greatest wonder and joy of all. Even still, talking about the thread of memory, he usually repeats to intimates that he is aware that he received an obvious miracle from God, and as well confesses that he recognized immediately – in the ecstasy described – more clearly than the light, the most blessed father of monks Benedict from the characteristics of the face and the habit. And still today he remembers how it came about that he discerned his body, almost as if he still has it before his bodily eyes. Those who read what follows will undoubtedly cease wondering that he was restored to health through Saint Benedict rather than through any other saint, as soon as they can take into account, as the story progresses, with what zeal of pious love he was inflamed in installing and in sustaining the monks.

(from the Italian translation of Lorenzo Bianchi)

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