On October 3rd, 1226 at the age of 44, St. Francis of Assisi lay dying in the humble Porziuncola, the first church of the Franciscan order.
He not only was in the loving presence of his brother friars; at this time of his ‘Transitus,’ he was also lovingly cared for by a dear friend and benefactor – a wealthy Roman laywoman named Lady Jacopa dei Settesoli. Lady Jacopa came to visit Francis in his final days bearing gifts. She brought items for his physical care such as a soft pillow, special cloth, a tunic. She brought gifts for his comfort and emotional well-being such as the cherished almond cookies that Francis loved. Thinking ahead, Jacopa even brought candles and incense for his funeral. But most importantly, as a spiritual friend, she brought her prayerful service and loving presence as she helped to care for the dying saint. Jacopa responded to the needs of Francis with unbridled compassion.
Questions for Reflection:
Francis so closely modeled his life after Jesus that he was an inspiration to so many both in his time and our own.
•For us, in this time of hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and floods – can we also share from our abundance and offer meaningful gifts to others in their time of need, either physical, monetary, emotional, and/or spiritual as did Lady Jacopa for Francis?
•Can we embrace our role as laypeople inspired by St. Francis, as did Lady Jacopa, to live lives filled with prayerful compassion and service for others? How?
Let us pray: Loving God, St. Francis tells us that ‘Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance… Where there is a heart full of mercy and discernment, there is neither excess nor hardness of heart.’ We humbly ask for hearts full of charity, wisdom, and mercy so that we may live filled with Your compassion. We ask this through Your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ Our Lord.