The great S. Francis, who in this subject of heavenly love ever returns before my eyes, could not possibly escape dying by love, because of the manifold and great languors, ecstasies and faintings which his love of God gave him; but besides this, God, who had set him forth to the view of the whole world as a miracle of love, willed that he should not only die for love but also of love. For consider, I beseech you, Theotimus, his death. Perceiving himself upon the point of his departure, he caused himself to be laid naked upon the ground, where having received as an alms a habit which they put on him, he discoursed to his brethren, animating them to the love of God and the Church, had our Saviour's passion read, and then with an extreme fervour began Psalm cxli.: I cried to the Lord with my voice; with my voice I made supplication to the Lord; and having pronounced these last words: Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name; the just wait for me, until thou reward me, he died, -- in his forty-fifth year. Who sees not, I beseech you, Theotimus, that this seraphical man who had so earnestly desired to be martyred and to die for love, died in the end of love, as in another place I have described?
S. Magdalen having for the space of thirty years lived in a cave which is yet to be seen in Provence, having seven times each day bad raptures and been borne up in the air by angels, as though she went to sing the seven canonical hours in their choir; in the end, upon a Sunday, she came to Church, where her dear Bishop, S. Maximin, finding her in contemplation, her eyes full of tears and her arms stretched out, communicated her, and soon afterwards she delivered up her blessed soul, which once again, for good and all, went to her Saviour's feet, to enjoy the better part, which she had already made choice of here below.
S. Basil had contracted a strict friendship with a physician, a Jew by nation and religion, with the intention of bringing him to the faith of Jesus Christ, which nevertheless he could not effect till such time as, worn out with fastings, watchings and labours, being upon the point of dying, he inquired of the physician what opinion he had of him, conjuring him to speak frankly. The physician did so, and having felt his pulse: -- there is no further remedy, said he; before the sun sets you will depart this life. But what will you say, replied the patient, if to-morrow I shall be alive? I will become a Christian, I promise you, said the physician. With this the saint prayed to God, and obtained a prolongation of his own temporal life, for the good of his physician's spiritual life, who having seen this miracle was converted, and S. Basil rising courageously out of his bed, went to the Church and baptized him with all his family, then returning to his chamber and to his bed, having entertained himself a good space with our Saviour in prayer, he holily exhorted the assistants to serve God with their whole heart, and finally, seeing the angels approach, and pronouncing with an extreme delight these words: O God I recommend unto thee my soul, and restore it into thy hands; he died. But the poor converted physician seeing him thus pass away, embracing him, and melting into tears over him: -- "O great Basil, said he, indeed if thou hadst willed thou wouldst no more have died to-day than yesterday." Who does not see that this death was wholly of love? And the Blessed Mother (S.) Teresa of Jesus revealed after her death that she died of an impetuous assault of love, which had been so violent that nature not being able to support it, the soul had departed towards the beloved object of its affections.