THE TRANSITUS OF SAINT FRANCIS
For more than eight hundred years, Christians around the world and people of goodwill everywhere have celebrated the life of Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). We turn to him as our patron; as defender of all creatures great and small; as the Seraphic Father who shows us how to be small and humble; and as the Little Poor One who shows us how to live with joy and simplicity. Saint Francis savored life and he welcomed death as a sister; as the gate to eternal peace. For this reason, we remember the passing or “transitus” of Saint Francis with deep emotion and solemnity. In this spirit, we pray in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!
Call to Prayer
O God, come to my assistance.
Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory to the Father,
to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
A Prayer by Saint Francis of Assisi
Most High and Glorious God,
bring light to the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith,
certain hope, and perfect charity.
O Lord, give me insight and wisdom
so that I might always discern
your holy and true will. Amen.
From the Earlier Rule of Saint Francis of Assisi
Let nothing hinder us,
let nothing separate us,
let nothing come between us.
Wherever we are,
in every place, at every hour,
at every time of the day,
every day and continually,
let all of us truly and humbly believe,
hold in our hearts,
and love, honor, adore,
serve, praise, and bless,
glorify and exalt,
magnify and give thanks
to the Most High and Supreme Eternal God,
Trinity and Unity,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Creator of all,
Savior of all who believe
and hope in him, and love him,
who without beginning or end
is unchangeable, invisible,
sublime, most high,
gentle, lovable, delightful,
and totally desirable
above all else forever. Amen.
Adapted from the Second Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano
As Francis was wasted by the grave illness that would end his suffering, he had himself placed naked on the bare ground, so that in his final hour, when the Enemy could still rage, he might wrestle naked with the naked. The fearless man awaited triumph, and with his hands joined, he held the crown of justice. Placed on the ground and stripped of his sackcloth tunic, he lifted his face to heaven. He focused himself on that glory, and covered the wound on his right side, so that no one could see it. He then said to his friends: ‘I have done what is mine to do; may Christ show you what is yours to do.’
He offered them words of consolation, and pleaded with them to love God. He spoke at length about patience, preserving poverty, and living the Holy Gospel above all else. As they shed bitter tears and wept without consolation, the holy man asked for some bread. He blessed it, broke, it, and gave each of them a piece to eat. He also asked for a book of the Gospels so that a part of the Gospel of John (see below) could be read to him. In this way, he remembered that most sacred supper, the last one the Lord celebrated with his disciples. In reverent memory, Francis wished to show his friends how much he loved them.
During the time that remained, he praised God and showed them how to praise the Lord and pray the psalms. He also asked them to sing the Canticle of Brother Sun, which he had written earlier. Even death itself, hateful and terrible to everyone, he exhorted to praise, and going to meet her joyfully, he cried out: ‘Welcome, my Sister Death!’
Francis said to the doctor: ‘Death is near! She will be the gate of life!’ He then said to his friends: ‘When you see me near the end, place me naked on the ground as you did before, and allow me to lie there for as long as takes to walk a leisurely mile.’ Then the hour came. All of the mysteries of Christ were now fulfilled in him. So Francis flew happily home to God.
A Reading from the Gospel of John (13:12-17)
After Jesus had washed their feet
and had once again put on his outer garments,
he reclined at table and said to them,
‘Do you understand what I have done for you?
You call me Teacher and Lord,
and rightly so, for that is what I am.
So if I, your Lord and Teacher,
have washed your feet,
you also should wash one another’s feet.
I have given you an example.
What I have done for you, you should also do.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
a servant is not greater than his master,
nor is a messenger greater
than the one who sent him.
Now that you know these things,
you will be blessed if you do them.
Prayers of the Faithful
The call to live the Gospel, share God’s love, and rebuild the Church is alive and urgent in ministries both old and new. We pray that the light of Christ will inspire us to truly become servants and subjects to all people everywhere.
For our Holy Father, Pope Francis: Hail Mary…
For our departed brothers and sisters: Hail Mary…
For the poor, the sick, and the left behind: Hail Mary…
For all who have asked us to pray for them: Hail Mary…
For our families, friends & fellow parishioners: Hail Mary…
For all who humbly serve in the vineyard of the Lord: Hail Mary…
For an increase in faith, hope & love around the world: Hail Mary…
For an increase in peace, justice & solidarity around the world: Hail Mary…
For the courage to live simply and care for our common home: Hail Mary…
For our divided country, wounded church & suffering world: Hail Mary…
The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
thy will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.
A Prayer by Saint John Paul II
O Saint Francis,
who received the wounds of Christ at Mount La Verna,
the world longs for you,
icon of our crucified Lord.
It has need of your heart,
open always to God and to others;
of your bare, wounded feet,
of your pierced hands raised in supplication.
It longs for your voice so frail
yet forceful with the power of the Gospel.
O Saint Francis,
help the people of our age
to recognize the evil of sin
and to seek purification from it in penance.
Help us to become free
from the structures of sin that oppress our world.
Rekindle in the consciences of those in government
an urgent need for peace between nations and peoples.
Instill in our young people your freshness of life,
that is so capable of withstanding
the snares of the culture of death.
O Saint Francis,
teach those injured by every type of evil
the joys of being able to forgive.
Teach those crucified by suffering, hunger, and war
the joys of reopening the doors of hope. Amen.
A Closing Prayer
May the powerful intercession
of Saint Francis of Assisi,
bearer of the sacred wounds,
patron of peace, and wonder worker,
bring us closer to Christ,
closer to the Church,
and closer to each other.
May the humble prayers
of Saint Francis of Assisi,
patron of the poor,
friend of the forgotten,
and defender of all creatures great and small,
comfort us, empower us, and protect us
as we strive to live the Gospel,
share God’s love, and rebuild the Church.
And may Almighty God give you peace
in the name of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us!
Our Lady of the Angels, pray for us!
About the Presenter
Cliff Garvey is a co-founder of the Assisi Project. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Saint John Seminary College, and the Catholic University of America. Cliff is a writer, spiritual director, retreat leader, and university lecturer. He also serves as Associate Minister of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in Massachusetts where his ministry focuses on adult faith formation. Thank you for listening to Happily Home to God: The Transitus of Saint Francis of Assisi. These audio recordings are produced by the Assisi Project, Inc. For more information about the Assisi Project: A Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit and our ministries for adults of all ages and backgrounds, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved. May the Lord give you peace!
Art Credit: Saint Francis of Assisi & Angels – Rights Purchased from Dreamstime.com
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers throughout the world. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization. All are welcome to support our ministry via PayPal or AmazonSmile (links below); or by sending a tax-deductible donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. For more information about the Assisi Project and our upcoming opportunities for formation, prayer, and pilgrimage, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace!
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