Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Transitus of Saint Francis (October 3, 1226 A.D.)


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Francis began THE CANTICLE OF BROTHER SUN in the summer of 1225, at a time indeed when he was deep in suffering, but when he had already attained the mystical heights in his experience on Mount La Verna. But the joy he had experienced in that great privilege was tempered by the thought of how many men were greatly offending their Creator by misusing the creature world God had given them. "For His praise," he said, "I want to compose a new hymn about the Lord's creatures, of which we make daily use, without which we cannot live, and with which the human race greatly offends its Creator."

The first part of the Canticle, up to the verses about pardon and peace, he composed in the garden of the Poor Clare's convent at San Damiano, where he lay sick and in intense suffering for six or seven weeks. He then composed a melody for it and frequently urged his brothers to sing it when they were out preaching. The second part, consisting of the next two verses about pardon and peace, he composed a short time later in an effort to restore peace between the quarreling parties in a dispute between the civil and religious authorities of Assisi. The final verses about Sister Death Francis added shortly before his own death, after Brother Leo and Brother Angelo had sung the Canticle at his request. Celano adds that his last words were: "Welcome, my Sister Death."

St. Francis of Assisi
Omnibus of Sources

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