Thomas Merton’s Prayer to St. Francis
Due to a rather busy schedule today, the centerpiece of which is my lecture uptown at Corpus Christi in Manhattan this afternoon, this post will necessarily be brief. In honor of the subject matter of this afternoon’s event, I thought it would be nice to share with you one of my favorite prayers in Thomas Merton’s writing. This comes from a very early period in Merton’s life, before he became a household name with the record sales of The Seven Storey Mountain, from February 1941.
At a time when the young Merton was still discerning his way in the world, trying to better understand who God was calling him to be, he wrote a prayer to St. Francis that wonderful summarizes the Franciscan spirit of Gospel living while also anticipating what the more mature Merton would more explicitly be interested in later in life amid the social engagement of his work.
It is a lovely prayer, it is one of the heart and it can be our prayer too. May it be our prayer too.
Holy Father Saint Francis pray for me: for you will never refuse to hear prayers that will help me to come to Our Lord. Then pray for me that I may give as much as I can to the poor. And that soon I may be able to go hungry so that someone else may eat. And that soon I may be able to suffer so that someone else may not suffer. And that I may laugh and sing when I am despised for God’s love, and that I may dance and play when I am reviled for God’s love, and called a mad man, and a fool and a crook.