Justice at Christmas

Here’s a cautionary tale from Alonso de Villegas’ Fructus sanctorum y quinta parte del Flossanctorum (1594):

Gauberto Fabricio of the Order of St Bernard writes that in 1386 [Peter/Pedro/Pere IV] of Aragon took away various possessions of the cathedral church of St Tecla in Tarragona. Although the clergy protested, they were unable to prevent the mischief.

Now, the king stayed in Barcelona for Christmas, and he woke in the night crying out as if mortally wounded. His servants came, and the king said to them, “Get me doctors, my confessor, and my councillors to come quick, because I’m a dead man. A beautiful maiden came in and gave me a blow that will kill me, because I’ve also been stricken by a fatal fever.”

His confessor came and understood from what the king said that the maiden was Tecla, whose property he had destroyed. He made up a testament in which he ordered that before taking over his realms his heir restitute with interest the wrong done to the church in Tarragona.

It is possible that God sent an angel, like that which killed the Assyrians in the times of King Hezekiah, which in the form of St Tecla inflicted this fate on the king in order that he repair the wrong he had done to the church and to warn others against dispossessing the church.

I’d love to know what happened to the guy who, enjoying an excess of seasonal spirit, vomited in the village church during Midnight Mass a few years back.

Gauberto Fabricio, del Orden de San Bernardo, escrive de un rey de Aragón, que quitó en Tarragona algunas possessiones de la iglesia catedral de Santa Tecla. Fue el año de 1386, y aunque los canónigos reclamaron, no huvo medio que el daño cessasse. Estava el rey en Barcelona por la Pascua de Navidad, despertó de noche dando bozes, como las pudiera dar un hombre herido mortalmente. Vinieron sus pages, y díxoles el rey:

– Llamadme presto, médicos, a mi confessor, y a los de mi consejo, que yo soy muerto, porque una hermosa donzella entró aquí y me dio una bofetada que moriré della, por averme juntamente sobrevenido una fiebre mortal.

– Vino el confessor, y entendió por lo que el rey dezía que la donzella era Tecla, cuyo patrimonio él avía destruido. Hizo testamento, en que mandó a su heredero que, antes de tomar la possessión de los reinos, restituyesse a la iglesia de Tarragona los daños y menoscabos que se le huviessen hecho, con lo principal. Possible fue embiar Dios un ángel, como el que mató a los assirios en tiempo del rey Ezequías, el cual con la figura de Santa Tecla tratasse al rey de aquella suerte para que restituyesse lo que tenia mal de su iglesia, y fuesse escarmiento a otros que no que no desheredassen las iglesias.

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