He would die flat on his back, his hands gripping the dirt floor, waiting for Jesus to come to him. Images of Elijah drifted through his mind. He saw the prophet stretched out upon the widow’s son, breathing life into the boy. In Francis’ mind the two figures of boy and prophet melted into one another. He hoped Jesus’ coming to him would be like that. They would melt into one another, limb to limb and wound to wound, and Francis would rise completely in Jesus, flesh of His flesh, and his Journey would be ended and he would be himself. Lost in Jesus, he would still be Francis, but he would also be eternally one with his Divine Lover.
The brothers were all weeping now and praying aloud, but Francis neither saw nor heard. His blind eyes were transfixed, watching the man of the Dream approach him.
“Now, Little One, Sparrow! I am here.” And the Lord bent down to Francis. But all that the brothers saw was Francis half rising and leaning forward, his eyes closed, a radiant smile on his face. He seemed to hold a precious gift in his arms. Then he eased back onto the ground and let the lightness of that gift rest upon his heart, and he died in the Lord.
—from the book Francis: The Journey and the Dream
by Murray Bodo, OFM