Let us begin with The Peace 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 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.
The Prayer for Peace attributed to St. Francis of Assisi has attained great popularity among both Christians and non-Christians. Although the prayer was not written by St. Francis, it reflects his writings and the witness of his life and has been widely published including in Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper.
Franciscan Father Albert Haase notes in his brief book on the Peace Prayer, Instruments of Christ, that “It has been prayed in formal settings such as the United States Senate and the inauguration of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of England. It has also been prayed in times of sorrow such as the funerals of Mother Teresa of Calcutta and Princess Diana of Wales….the Peace Prayer is truly a prayer for all times and for all peoples.” As Father Haase observes that is probably because “Its words carry the entire weight of the teachings of Jesus.”
Since Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio became the first pope to take the name of Francis, similarities in style and substance between Pope Francis and St. Francis of Assisi have become apparent, especially the simplicity of lifestyle, commitment to the marginalized and calling us all to return to the foundational teachings of Jesus.
In our blogs during Lent, we will reflect on the similar ways that the basic teachings of Jesus are presented in the Prayer of St. Francis and the writings of Pope Francis, particularly in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium.
Image Credit: Pope Francis kisses a hand-carved figure of St. Francis of Assisi that was given to him as he greeted patients, family members and staff at St. Francis of Assisi Hospital in Rio de Janeiro July 24. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) (July 24, 2013)