A Letter on the Passing of Saint Francis - 489 

A Letter on the Passing of Saint Francis
Attributed to Elias of Assisi

1To Gregory, his beloved brother in Christ, the minister of the brothers who are in France,a together with all his brothers and ours, Brother Elias, a sinner, sends greetings.b

2Before I begin to speak, I sigh, and rightly so. My groans gush forth like waters in a flood. For what I feared has overtaken me and has overtaken you. And what I dreaded has happened to me and to you. Our consoler has gone away from us and he who carried us in his arms like lambs has gone on a journey to a far off country. He who was beloved of God and of man, who taught Jacob the law of life and of discipline, and gave to Israel a covenant of peace has been received into the most resplendent dwellings. We would rejoice exceedingly on his account, yet for our own part we must mourn, since in his absence darkness surrounds us and the shadow of death covers us. It is a loss for all, yet it is a trial singularly my own,c for he has left me in the midst of darkness, surrounded by many anxieties and pressed down by countless afflictions. For this reason I implore you. Mourn with me, brothers, for I am in great sorrow and, with you, in pain. For we are orphans without our father and bereaved of the light of our eyes.

3In truth, in very truth, the presence of our brother and father Francis was a light, not only for us who were near, but even to those who were far from us in calling and in life. He was a light shed by the true light to give light to those who were in darkness and sitting in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. Lk 1:78 He did this because the true Daystar from on high shone upon his heart and enkindled his will with the fire of His love. By preaching the kingdom of God and turning the hearts of fathers to their children and the rebellious to the wisdom of the just, he prepared for the Lord a new people in the world. His name reached distant coasts and all lands were in awe at his marvelous deeds.

4For this reason, sons and brothers, do not mourn beyond measure. God, the father of orphans, will give us comfort by his holy consolation. And if you weep, brothers, weep for yourselves and not for him. For "in

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Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 489

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