A Letter on the Passing of Saint Francis - 490 

the midst of life, we are caught in death,"a while he has passed from death to life. Rejoice, for, like another Jacob, he blessed all his sons before he was taken from us and forgave them all the faults which any one of us might have committed, or even thought of committing, against him.b

5And now, after telling you these things, I announce to you a great joy and the news of a miracle.c Such a sign that has never been heard of from the dawn of time except in the Son of God, who is Christ the Lord.

Not long before his death, our brother and father appeared crucified, bearing in his body the five wounds which are truly the marks of Christ. His hands and feet had, as it were, the openings of the nails and were pierced front and back revealing the scars and showing the nails' blackness. His side, moreover, seemed opened by a lance and often emitted Sir 24:21 blood.d

6As long as his spirit lived in the body, there was no beauty in him for his appearance was that of a man despised.e No part of his body was without great suffering. By reason of the contraction of his sinews, his limbs were stiff, much like those of a dead man. But after his death, his appearance was one of great beauty gleaming with a dazzling whiteness and giving joy to all who looked upon him. His limbs, which had been rigid, became marvelously soft and pliable, so that they would be turned this way and that, like those of a young child.

7Therefore, brothers, bless the God of heaven and praise Him before all, for He has shown His mercy to us. Hold fast the memory of our father and brother, Francis, to the praise and glory of Him Who made him so great among people and gave him glory in the sight of angels. Pray for him, as he begged us, and pray to him that God may make us share with him in his holy grace. Amen.

8On the fourth day before the nones of October, the Lord's day, at the first hour of the preceding night, our father and brother went to Christ. I am sure, dearest brothers, that when this letter reaches you, you will follow the footprints of the people of Israel as they mourned the




Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 490