Praised are you, my Lord, for our sister bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe on those who will die in mortal sin!
Blessed are they who will be found
in your most holy will,
for the second death will not harm them.
St. Francis of Assisi, from Canticle of the Creatures
I am dismayed when I see St. Francis of Assisi co-opted as some kind of warm and fuzzy, new-age saint. My experience of new-age ideas is that the people who subscribe to them don’t think that a person is capable of sin, and since we can’t sin and God is love, he would never send us to Hell. If we are not capable of sin, we could never die in mortal sin. But what happens to those who die in mortal sin? Since they have told God “I don’t want your rules,” God says, “Since in life, you didn’t want me, I will give you what you want, separation from me, forever.” And this eternal separation from God has another name: Hell. St. Francis may have been cheerful or stern – thanking God for all His gifts in creation didn’t make him new-age or warm and fuzzy. But there is good news even here. If we accept God, and accept his rules, when we die, we can go to live with Him. Knowing that Heaven awaits those who die in God’s will, it’s no wonder St. Francis praised Him for bodily Death.