Filed in:Francis of Assisi
The Prayer of St. Francis is one of the best known and best loved prayers in the world today. Attributed traditionally to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), pictured above, its actual origins are much more recent. Nonethless it beautifully reflects his devotion to God!
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;
And 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.
Although he came from a wealthy family, St. Francis developed a burning desire as a young man to emulate Our Lord in his love of charity and voluntary poverty. He went so far at one point as to sell his horse, and cloth from his father’s store, to help pay for the rebuilding of a church!
After renouncing his wealth, St. Francis founded one of the most famous religious orders, the Franciscans. The Franciscans lived an austere life of poverty in service to others following Jesus’s example, and preached the Gospel message all over Italy and other parts of Europe.
St. Francis’s humility was such that he never became a priest. Coming from someone whose order attracted thousands of people within its first ten years, this is modesty indeed!
Fittingly, St. Francis is the patron of Catholic Action, as well as of animals, the environment, and his native Italy. We see his legacy in the wonderful chartiable work the Franciscans do all over the world today.
In addition to the Prayer of St. Francis (also known as the “Peace Prayer of St. Francis&rdquo there are some other moving prayers that he wrote listed here that reflect his great love of Our Lord, the Blessed Mother, and nature as part of God’s magnificent creation.
—“Do So In Prayer” by Samantha Rochard
by Deng Ming Dao
Prayer is simple.
Pressing your palms together is a universal gesture of prayer, benediction, gratitude, and humility. It signals that you are unifying all aspects of yourself and that you are completely present. No one can pick up a weapon or form a fist with palms pressed together. In prayer, there can be no aggression.
Some people doubt prayer. They declare that there are no gods to listen. Prayer works—because that higher part of ourselves is listening—and it works instantly: the very act of prayer is its own truth and its own reward.
We have to free ourselves of childish expectations; we must not pray like children whining to our parents. We must also reject any latent feudalism in our hearts: we still call our gods “lords” and act like serfs begging for consideration. Neither infantile wailing nor medieval supplication is the prayer we need.
Without a doubt, we all have problems. We all have misfortunes. We all face times that try us to our souls. Nevertheless, we cannot go to a temple and order up a solution by bargaining on our knees. In all of history there has never been a single person that the gods raised to float above the earth. Every person has had to walk on the ground, experiencing both good and bad.
We say “I need to pull myself together” when we’re frazzled. If we look at that statement literally, we can see how helpful it is to put our hands together. Press palm to palm, breathe deeply.
When you pray, there is no brand on you that says “Taoist," “Buddhist,” or “Confucianist.” Don’t worry about what kind of prayer you’re making. A sincere prayer is far more important than a crafted or dictated one.
You’re you, a whole person. Give yourself some time to be quiet at the end of each day. If you’re faced with a big decision, take refuge in silence. Put your hands together. Trust yourself to do the right thing. You’ll know instantly.
The gods will instantly appear because we came from One and
remain part of One.
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