The Transitus of Our Holy Father Francis

This evening at Vespers Franciscans the world over celebrated the holy passing of our Seraphic Father Saint Francis, his transition from this life to eternal glory, his transitus.  He was no more than 45 years old at his death, but 791 years later he is still at work in the world and the Church. Here is a little snippet from the Transitus service:

Litany of Saint Francis, Our Seraphic Father

Lord, have mercy on us. (repeat)
Christ, have mercy on us. (repeat)
Lord, have mercy on us. (repeat)

Christ, hear us.
R. O Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven:
R. Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world:
God, the Holy Ghost:
Holy Trinity, one God:

Holy Mary: R. Pray for us.
Immaculate Virgin:
Mother and Mistress of our Order:

Saint Francis, Seraphic Father: R. Pray for us.
Saint Francis, Patriarch of the Poor:
Saint Francis, Founder and Leader of three armies of God:
Saint Francis, Abraham of the Gospel by reason of thy countless children:
Saint Francis, like unto the Baptist in the preaching of penance:
Saint Francis, like unto Moses, giving the law of perfection:
Saint Francis, like unto Elijah, borne aloft in a fiery chariot:
Saint Francis, herald of the great King:
Saint Francis, messenger of peace:
Saint Francis, valiant knight of Christ:
Saint Francis, mighty lover of souls:
Saint Francis, example of Gospel perfection:
Saint Francis, spouse of Lady Poverty:
Saint Francis, model of dedicated chastity:
Saint Francis, master of holy obedience:
Saint Francis, sublime in corporal penance:
Saint Francis, uplifted in heavenly contemplation:
Saint Francis, marked with the Stigmata of Jesus:
Saint Francis, verily a living crucifix:
Saint Francis, wholly set on fire with seraphic love:
Saint Francis, lover of the Babe of Bethlehem:
Saint Francis, lover of the Sacred Passion:
Saint Francis, lover of the Blessed Sacrament:
Saint Francis, lover of the Name of Jesus:
Saint Francis, lover of the Holy Scriptures:
Saint Francis, lover of all the creatures of God:
Saint Francis, physician of the sick:
Saint Francis, light of the blind:
Saint Francis, healer of the lepers:
Saint Francis, raiser of the dead:
Saint Francis, terror of demons:
Saint Francis, enthroned in Lucifer’s place:
Saint Francis, apostle of the infidels:
Saint Francis, martyr in desire:
Saint Francis, confessor of the Faith:
Saint Francis, virgin in soul:
Saint Francis, endowed with the virtues of the Sacred Heart:
Saint Francis, our Advocate:

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world:
R. Hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world:
R. Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world:
R. Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O blessed Father Francis. Alleluia.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ. Alleluia.

Celebrant: Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, Who, when the world was waxing
cold, to the inflaming of our hearts with the fire of Thy love didst
renew in the flesh of our most blessed Father Francis the sacred
marks of Thy passion: mercifully grant that by his merits and
intercession, we may be enabled ever to bear Thy Cross, and to bring
forth fruits worthy of repentance. Who livest and reignest forever
and ever. Amen.

An Account of the Holy Death of Saint Francis

Saint Francis spent the last few days before his death in praising the
Lord and teaching his companions whom he loved so much to praise
Christ with him. He himself, in as far as he was able, broke out with
the Psalm: I cry to the Lord with my voice; to the Lord I make loud
supplication. He likewise invited all creatures to praise God and, with
the words he had composed earlier, he exhorted them to love God.
Even death itself, considered by all to be so terrible and hateful, was
exhorted to give praise, while he himself, going joyfully to meet it,
invited it to make its abode with him. “Welcome,” he said, “my
sister death.” (Celano, Second Life.)
When the hour of his death approached, Francis asked that all of the
brothers living with him be called to his death bed and softening his
departure with consoling words, he encouraged them with fatherly
affection to love God. He spoke of patience and poverty and of being
faithful to the Holy Roman Church, giving precedence to the Holy
Gospels before all else. He then stretched his hands over the brothers
in the form of a cross, a symbol that he loved so much, and gave his
blessings to all followers, both present and absent, in the power and
in the name of the Crucified. Then he added: “Remain, my sons, in
the fear of the Lord and be with him always. And as temptations and
trials beset you, blessed are those who persevere to the end in the life
they have chosen. I am on my way to God and I commend you all to
His favor.”
With this sweet admonition, this dearly beloved to God, asked that
the book of the Gospels be brought to him and that the passage in the
Gospel of Saint John, which begins before the Feast of the Passover be
read. Finally, when all God’s mysteries had been accomplished in
him, his holy soul was freed from his body and assumed into the abyss
of God’s glory, and Francis fell asleep in God. (Bonaventure, Major
Life.)

The Stigmata of St. Francis

tumblr_maierrjNZG1rrutr7o1_400In the year 1224 St. Francis of Assisi was given a gift of grace which no one could have imagined: the sacred stigmata.  St. Francis, the ardent lover of Christ crucified, now bore in his own body the wounds of the Passion.  On this day all Franciscans celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata of Our Holy Father Francis, which was first instituted by Pope Benedict XI.  Below is the second reading from today’s office of readings

From the Legenda Minor of Saint Bonaventure

Two years before Francis, the faithful servant of Christ, gave his soul back to God, he was alone on the top of Mt. Alverna.  There he had begun a fast of forty days in honor of the archangel Michael and was immersed more deeply than usual in the delights of heavenly contemplation.  His soul became aglow with the ardor of fervent longing for heaven as he experienced within himself the operations of grace.

As he was drawn aloft through ardent longing for God one morning near the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and was praying on the mountainside, he saw what appeared as a seraph with six bright wings gleaming like a fire descending from the heights of heaven.  As this figure approached in swift flight and came near the man of God it appeared not only winged but also crucified.  The sight of it amazed Francis and his soul experienced joy mingled with pain.  He was delighted with the sight of Christ appearing to him so graciously and intimately and yet the awe-inspiring vision of Christ nailed to the cross aroused in his soul a joy of compassionate love. Continue reading

The Little Portion

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From the writings of Friar Thomas of Celano

The servant of God, Francis, an unassuming humble person, a man of no importance in his own opinion, while dwelling on earth chose for himself and his followers a small place.  Without this small place he would not have been able to render service to Christ in this world.  It was not, however, without some knowledge of the Scriptures that the place long ago was named Small Portion (Portiuncula), a place destined for those who desired to own Continue reading

The Little Poor Man

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate the Transitus with us last evening.  We are happy to share with you Fr. Phillips’ beautiful and moving sermon on Our Holy Father St. Francis.  Click below to listen – we hope to get the transcription up one of these days, too.

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