FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi (Prayer for Peace)
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.
About St. Francis of Assisi
Francis was born at Assisi in Umbria in 1181 or 1182. The son of a wealthy cloth merchant, he enjoyed an easy life. He was very well liked by everyone and considered a leader among his peers. Francis longed to be a knight so when Assisi and Perugia went to war, he joined the fight. Captured and imprisoned for a year, Francis was ransomed only to resume his old ways. He longed for glory but on the way to his next battle, dressed in fine armor, he had a dream in which God told him to return home to Assisi.
Francis turned to God in prayer and solitude to discover his (true) calling. Kneeling below the crucifix in San Damiano Church, he heard God tell him, “Francis, repair my church.” Of course, Francis thought God meant the church where he was kneeling so he immediately went out and sold some of his father’s fabric to get money for the repairs. Furious, his father demanded his money back. Francis returned the money, denounced his inheritance and stripped himself of the clothes on his back. Begging for stones, he rebuilt San Damiano and two other deserted Chapels, St. Peter’s and St. Mary of the Angels. Francis took the Gospel message literally, gave away all he had, served the poor, took nothing for the journey and, as others joined him, went out two by two to preach penance, brotherly love and peace. He and his followers went to Rome to have their order approved by Pope Innocent III. Francis was made a deacon so he could read the Gospels in Church.
A few years later, a young girl, Clare, heard him preach and together with her sister Agnes, joined Francis to form an order for women known today as the Poor Clares. Francis was known for his love of all of God’s creation. As his order grew, he allowed others to take over leadership and he retreated to the mountainside in solitude. There, amongst nature and in poverty, he received the stigmata — the five wounds of Christ. Two years later, in 1226, Francis passed from this life to the next — the Heavenly abode.