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 The Minor Legend - 715 

Third Lesson

He knew long in advance the time of his death. As this day grew near, he told the brothers that laying aside the tent of his body was at hand, as it had been pointed out to him by Christ. Two years after the imprinting of the sacred stigmata and in the twentieth year of his conversion, he asked to be brought to Saint Mary of the Portiuncula. He wished to pay his debt to death and arrive at the prize of eternal recompense there where he had conceived the spirit of perfection and grace through the Virgin Mother of God. After he was brought to the above mentioned place, he showed by a true example that there was nothing in common between him and the world. In that grave illness that ended all suffering, he placed himself in fervor of spirit totally naked on the naked ground, so that in that final hour, when the enemy could still rage, he might wrestle naked with the naked. Lying thus on the ground and in the dust, this naked athlete covered with his left hand the wound in his right side, lest it be seen. With his serene face raised in the customary manner toward heaven and his attention directed entirely toward that glory, he began to praise the Most High because, released from all things, he was now free to go to Him.

Fourth Lesson

Finally, when the hour of his passing was approaching, he had all the brothers staying in the place called to him. Consoling them in preparation for his death with comforting words, he exhorted them with fatherly affection to divine love. Then leaving them their rightful inheritance, the possession of poverty and peace, he charged them to strive toward things eternal and fortify themselves against the dangers of this world. He carefully admonished them and persuaded them with all the efficacy of speech he could muster to follow perfectly the footsteps of Jesus crucified. As his sons were sitting around him, the patriarch of the poor, whose eyes had been dimmed not by age but by tears; the holy man, blind and now near death, crossed his arms and stretched his hands over them in the form of the cross, for he always loved this sign. He then blessed all the brothers, both present and absent, in the name and in power of the Crucified.

Fifth Lesson

After this he ordered the Gospel according to John be read to him from the place that begins: Before the feast of the Passover. Jn 13:1 He wished to hear the voice of the Beloved knocking, from whom only the wall of flesh now separated him. Finally, when all the mysteries were fulfilled in him, the blessed man, praying and singing psalms, fell asleep in the Acts 7:60

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Legenda Minor, Fontes Franciscani, p. 1008-1010


Lectio tertia.

3 1Ipse vero transitum suum longe ante praescivit, dieque obitus imminente, dixit fratribus sui corporis tabernaculum deponendum in proximo, quemadmodum sibi fuerat demonstratum a Christo. 2Biennio itaque ab impressione sacrorum stigmatum, anno videlicet a sua conversione vigesimo, ad Sanctam Mariam de Portiuncula se deferri poposcit, ut ubi per Virginem Matrem Dei spiritum conceperat perfectionis et gratiae, ibidem mortis soluto debito, ab bravium perveniret retributionis aeternae. 3Perductus autem ad locum praefatum, ut veritatis exemplo monstraret, quod nihil erat ei commune cum mundo, in illa infirmitate tam gravi, quod omni languori conclusit, super nudam humum se totum nudatum deposuit, quatenus hora illa extrema, in qua poterat adhuc hostis irasci, nudus luctaretur cuin nudo. 4Decubans sic in terra et pulvere nudatus athleta, manu sinistra dextri lateris vulnus, ne videretur, obtexit, 5facieque serena solito more levata in caelum, intendens illi gloriae totus magnificare coepit Altissimum, pro eo quod expeditus ab omnibus, liber iam transiret ad ipsum.

Lectio quarta.

4 1Hora denique sui transitus iam instante, fecit omnes fratres exsistentes in loco ad se vocari et eos consolatoriis verbis pro sua morte demulcens, paterno affectu ad divinum est hortatus amorem. 2Possessionem quoque paupertatis et pacis hereditaria ipsis successione relinquens et legans, ut se ad aeterna protenderent ac contra mundi huius munirent pericula, vigilanter admonuit 3et ad crucifixi Iesu perfecte sectanda vestigia, omni qua potuit efficacia sermonis induxit. 4Circumsedentibus vero filiis coram pauperum patriarcha, cuius iam caligaverant oculi, non senectute, sed lacrimis, vir sanctus caecutiens et morti iam proximus extendit super eos manus in modum crucis, brachiis cancellatis, pro eo quod hoc signum semper amabat, 5et omnibus fratribus tam praesentibus quam absentibus in Crucifixi virtute ac nomine benedixit.

Lectio quinta.

5 1Post haec Evangelium secundum Ioannem ab illo loco: Ante diem festum Paschae, sibi legi poposcit, ut in eo vocem Dilecti pulsantis audiret, a quo solus eum iam carnis paries disiungebat. 2Tandem cunctis in eum completis mysteriis, orans et psallens vir beatus obdormivit in Domino, et anima illa sanctissima,

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 2, p. 715

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