Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Transitus: how to go to the Father

On this night, many years ago, our brother Francis was Called to his Father.

It had been seen coming for a long time, Francis was never very strong, and he'd been ill and frail ever since he had come home from the Crusades with that eye disease. And, a few years before, he had become totally conformed to his Lord --- the holy brother Leo the priest had witnessed it --- and his suffering was extreme. But now the time had actually arrived.

Earlier in the day, Francis had asked one of his brothers to go, just as fast as he could, to Rome, and bring back to him the third most important lady in his life (after Lady Poverty and the Lady Clare), Jacopa Frangipani di Settesoli, and if she could please bring with her some fabric for his shroud and a batch of those almond cookies it would be such a goodness. [All the brothers were entirely hooked on Jacopa's almond cookies.] But before the brother could even leave the place, Jacopa and her entourage rode up; she said she'd had a vision to come. She even had with her the new shroud, everything necessary to prepare the body for burial, and even a triple batch of those almond cookies. A few of the brothers were upset about Jacopa's arrival, and wouldn't let her into the place; after all, she was a girl, and there were rules. But Francis told them to lighten up and let Brother Jacopa in.

Francis asked his brothers to take him out of bed and lay him on the ground. He took some bread, broke it and shared it with them each, then asked that Jesus' words at the Last Supper [John 14-17] be read for him. The community then sang the Canticle of the Creatures that Francis had composed, and then prayed some psalms. Francis died during Psalm 142, his last words were, "Bring my soul out of prison, and I shall praise Your name."

Thus did our brother Francis pass from this life to the life true and eternal; may he pray for us, that we may also be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

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1 comment:

Mimi said...

Happy St. Francis' Day!