Greetings, David here.
The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Catholic Christian prayer. It is attributed to the 13th-century Saint Francis of Assisi.
The prayer has been known in the United States since 1927 when its first known translation in English appeared in January 1927 in the Quaker magazine Friends’ Intelligencer (Philadelphia), where it was attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Cardinal Francis Spellman and Senator Albert W. Hawkes distributed millions of copies of the prayer during and just after World War II.
The prayer of St. Francis is a petition to God that we might live up to the true way of being-in-the-world that God intends for the human family. To be most authentically human is to be an instrument of peace or, to put it in the sense of the prayer’s following lines, one who sows: love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy in our world.
If the first part of the “Prayer of St. Francis” reminds us about whom we should strive to be in asking God to help us live out that identity, the second part of the prayer is a reminder of what not to be. In a word – selfish.
I’m not sure about you, but I have a lot to learn here – I wish I could be more like this prayer. In a word – selfless.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be understood, desiring to be loved, or seeking forgiveness from those we’ve hurt. But living after the example of St. Francis, whose whole life was modeled on the life of Jesus Christ, means putting others first and caring for the rest of creation in a way that reflects our interdependence and family relationship. It is a call to remember who we really are in the eyes of God, see who others are from that same perspective, and act in a way fitting our identity as human beings.
The “Prayer of St. Francis” offers us is a chance to pause, pray and reflect on who it is that we are and what it is that we are created to do.
May you this week choose what you will sow – love for hate, pardon for injury, faith for doubt, light for dark, and joy for sadness. May you remember this week that what you look for in this world you will find. Look for peace.
The Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.