The Transitus of St.. Francis

The Transitus is an ancient prayer service celebrated by Franciscans around the world on the night of October 3rd.  It is a moment of remembrance of the life of St. Francis of Assisi as well as a celebration of his passing into eternal life. Read below what he did and said as he approached his death, is it is recorded by his biographers.

     At this time Francis was staying in the palace of the Bishop of Assisi, and he
therefore asked the brothers to take him as quickly as possible to the place of St.
Mary of the Portiuncula. For he wished to give back his soul to God in that place
where, as has been said, he first knew the way of truth perfectly.

     Blessed Francis, despite the overpowering burden of his sickness, praised
the Lord in a great joyful outburst of body and soul, saying to his companion:
“Since I must soon die, have Brother Angel and Brother Leo come and praise our
Sister Death for me.” Both arrived and, forcing back their tears, sang the
“Canticle of Brother Sun” and of the other creatures, which the saint had
composed during his sickness for the glory of God and for the consolation of his
soul and of that of the others.

     While therefore the brothers were weeping very bitterly and grieving
inconsolably, the holy father commanded that bread be brought to him. He
blessed and broke it and gave a small piece of it to each one to eat. Commanding
also that a book of the Gospels be brought, he asked that the Gospel according to
St. John be read to him from the place that begins: “Before the feast of the
Passover.” He was recalling that most holy supper which the Lord celebrated as
his last supper with his disciples. He did all of this in reverent memory of that
supper, showing thereby the deep love he had for his brothers.

   Then Francis spent the few days that remained before his death in praise,
teaching his companions whom he loved so much to praise Christ with him. He
himself, in as far as he was able broke forth in this psalm (142), “I cried to the Lord
with my voice: with my voice I made supplication to the Lord.” He also invited
all creatures to praise God. He exhorted death itself, terrible and hateful to all, to
give praise, and going joyfully to meet it, he invited it to make its lodging with
him.
    Francis said to the brothers: “When you see that I am brought to my last
moments, place me naked upon the ground just as you saw me the day before
yesterday; and let me lie there after I am dead for the length of time it takes one to
walk a mile unhurriedly.” The hour therefore came, and all the mysteries of Christ
being fulfilled in him, he winged his way happily to God.

 

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