The Transitus of Saint Francis
by Bret Thoman, OFS
Francis then spoke to the friars with fatherly affection and consoled them over his death. He told them to remain faithful to poverty and to the Roman Church, and he gave the Gospel preeminence over any other Rule of life. … As Angelo and Leo quietly sang his praises to Sister Death, Francis then uttered his final admonition: “I have done what is mine; may Christ teach you what is yours!”
As Francis closed his eyes, he thought he faintly heard the trumpeting of the Assisi city hymn in the distance announcing the end of the day and the closing of the city’s gates. He started to feel a deep, profound peace within. He felt the quiet, calm, familiar beckoning of the Holy Spirit -- the same voice he had heard numerous times in his life that had said: “You will become a great knight… Whom do you serve? … Go and rebuild my house…” This time, the voice was calling him for the final time saying, “Come home, Francis.”
As the sun disappeared behind the hills beyond Perugia in the west, the light in Francis went out. It was now nighttime on the fourth day of October. His earthly pilgrimage was finished, though his heavenly one had just begun.
A great flock of larks began circling and singing overhead with unusual joy, strange in that they usually preferred the light of day and avoided the night. The angels and saints in heaven rejoiced: “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” (Psalm 116:15).
(adapted from "St. Francis of Assisi: Passion, Poverty, and the Man who Transformed the Catholic Church" by Bret Thoman, OFS)