We are only afraid of death as long as we do not know who we are, but once we know ourselves objectively to be a child of God, we are already home and our inheritance is given to us ahead of time. Then we can begin living and enjoying instead of climbing, proving, or defending. Our false self, as all religions say in one way or another, must “die before we die.” Only then can we sincerely say with Francis, “Welcome, Sister Death” which he said on this day in 1226. Those who face this first death of dying to self lose nothing that is real. And so, “the second death can do them no harm,” as Francis says in his “Canticle of the Creatures.”  Death itself will only “keep opening, and opening, and opening,” which is what resurrection means. 
All of this creates a very different form and shape to our spiritual life. It is no longer elitist, separatist, or competitive, but changes our deepest imagination in the direction of simplicity. Our worldview will not normally change until we place ourselves, or are placed, in new and different lifestyle situations. Another of the Center’s core principles is: You do not think yourself into a new way of living, you live yourself into a new way of thinking. Francis and Clare displaced themselves into different worlds where their hearts could imagine very different things and they had to pay attention to something other than comfort or convenience.
 Francis wrote this song praising God through all creation during the last year of his life; the full text of the Canticle can be found at www.franciscantradition.org.
 Richard Rohr, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self (Jossey-Bass: 2013), xxi.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi (Franciscan Media: 2014), 200-202.
Image credit: Scenes from the life of Saint Francis: 2. Renunciat