In September 1226, Francis realized that he would die soon. He dictated a Testament for his friars to help them grow in their zeal for Gospel living and the good example that would give power to their words. In fact, Francis died at the sunset that marked the start of October 4.
The Testament is a short document, recalling the conversion of Francis to a Gospel way of life, serving lepers, showing reverence to the Eucharist and to priests, honoring theologians and Scripture teachers as “those who minister spirit and life to us.” He reminded the friars that God had revealed to him the greeting “May the Lord give you peace.” The friars should be peacemakers—especially by their actions.
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The Spirit of Saint Francis: Inspiring Words from Pope Francis!
He encouraged the friars to work diligently, always living in this world “as pilgrims and strangers.” The friars were to obey Church authorities and their ministers within the Franciscan brotherhood.
Francis asked that this text be read to future friars “that we might observe the Rule we have promised in a more Catholic way.”