ASSISI – Conclusion

La Verna Fresco: Francis gives Brother Leo his handwritten “Praises of God” and blessing

Soon after Francis received the stigmata on Mount La Verna in 1224, he composed the Praises of God, giving thanks for the event. Francis’ composition was spontaneous. One day he asked Brother Leo for parchment and ink to write down some verses that he had been meditating on in his heart. He wrote them on a small scrap of vellum in his own hand. He folded the scrap and handed it to Leo, telling him to keep it until his (Leo’s) death. We can see it today in a reliquary in the Basilica of St. Francis. Later on, Francis added on the back of the parchment a short blessing for Leo consisting of Numbers 6:24-26. Francis added to the quotation a Tau cross over a picture of a skull. This was meant to evoke the Cross on Calvary. Contrary to Francis’ instruction, Leo did not keep the parchment with him his whole life; he passed it on, along with Francis’ breviary, to the Sisters of San Damiano about the year 1256.

Blessing for Brother Leo:
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May he show His face to you and be merciful to you.
May he turn His countenance to you and give you peace.
May the Lord bless you, (Brother Leo)!

 

Copy of the Blessing of St. Francis for Brother Leo on the left and the Praises of God on the right

In 1225, a year before his death and at the insistence of the bishop, Francis agreed to an operation on his eyes, which continued to worsen. The operation was a failure. Advancing dropsy brought swelling to his stomach and legs, and Francis had now contracted tuberculosis.
He dictated his last Testament at the Franciscan hermitage in Cortona. He went the Bishop’s palace in Assisi for a short time, and then almost completely blind, he asked to be taken to the Portiuncula-Saint Mary of the Angels, which was so dear to him and represented the joyful days with his first followers after his conversion. It was there that the life of the order began, and where God had multiplied its members. It was natural that Francis would want to die there, with his brothers, rather than at the Bishop’s palace. As they left Assisi for the Portiuncula, he asked that they place his litter on the ground and face it toward the city. He prayed for his city and those who lived in it, giving them a blessing. The blessing in Latin is on one of the gates to the city. Here is the translation: “May the Lord bless you, Holy City faithful to God; because through you many souls will be saved, and in you many servants of the Most High will live, and from you, many will be chosen for the eternal Kingdom.”

Francis’ blessing of the city and its citizens

This ends our virtual pilgrimage to the city of the Poverello. We pray that you will come someday soon to a live pilgrimage. Until then Pax et Bonum!

 

From the Basilica of St. Francis we bid you farewell!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are ready for you to come to a real pilgrimage!

DEUS MEUS ET OMNIA
MY GOD ANY MY ALL

May the Lord bless you and give you peace!


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