I was asked to write a little piece for the Huffington Post on the “Prayer of St. Francis” for today’s feast. It is currently being featured as the lead article over at HuffPo Religion. Here is the beginning of the post, you can read the rest over at “Living the ‘Prayer of St. Francis’ with All of Creation.”
There is probably no saint more revered and well known in all of Christian history than St. Francis of Assisi. Today Christians, and many non-Christians alike, celebrate the life and legacy of this medieval Italian man who is known the world over for his exemplary life of holiness and model of peaceable living he leaves to us, nearly 800 years after his death.
Just as he remains a popular figure across many cultures and religious traditions, there is probably no Christian prayer more popular (with perhaps the predictable exception of the “Lord’s Prayer”) than the one that bears the name of this Saint from Assisi: “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.
Many people are shocked to learn that the prayer most closely associated with St. Francis was not actually written by him. In fact, the prayer called “The Prayer of St. Francis” is generally believed to be only about 100 years old, a creative and sincere prayer penned by an anonymous French writer. Over time this anonymously drafted prayer became linked with the spirit of the 13th-century friar whose continual striving to follow more closely the Gospel of Jesus Christ led to a renewal in the church at many levels.
Ultimately, I don’t think it matters very much that St. Francis isn’t directly responsible for this prayer because, although St. Francis never actually said or wrote these particular words, he lived the prayer with his whole life…
Read the rest over at the Huffington Post.