Peace Prayer of Saint 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.
If you asked many people about Saint Francis, they would quote this prayer. However, it is actually not his writing. It comes from an unknown French writer sometime around 1913. The prayer is beautiful and is something that he could have written. Some people would say that it is written in the spirit of Saint Francis.
The Prayer before the Crucifix was a prayer that Saint Francis used in the early days of his conversion. We can see the similarities in the two prayers. Humbly submitting to God so that you may carry out his will.
Most High, glorious God enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out Your holy and true command
The concept of peace is prevalent in the life of Saint Francis. By peace I am not just talking about non-violence I am speaking of the Hebrew word for peace, Shalom. By greeting someone with the word Shalom, you are wishing that they receive healing and fullness of life. It is such a powerful and wonderful word.
If we were to see him preaching to the birds, we would almost immediately label him as a man of peace. Peace and nature always seem to go hand in hand. His connection to nature was evident in many aspects of his life. He reminds us that we should care for and be compassionate to all of Gods creations.
In 1979, Pope John Paul II paid tribute to Saint Francis’ love for creation by declaring him the patron saint of ecologists. (cf. Apostolic Letter Inter Sanctos: AAS 71 , 1509f). As the late Pope states:
“He offers Christians an example of genuine and deep respect for the integrity of creation. As a friend of the poor who was loved by God’s creatures, Saint Francis invited all of creation—animals, plants, natural forces, even Brother Sun and Sister Moon—to give honor and praise to the Lord. The poor man of Assisi gives us striking witness that when we are at peace with God we are better able to devote ourselves to building up that peace with all creation which is inseparable from peace among all peoples.” With all the things happening with our environment today it may be wise to extend our love of mankind to the earths environment as well. We should be living in communion with nature instead of trying to rule or exploit it.
Conserving our natural resources is the right thing to do. As the world population grows our impact on the earth becomes greater each day. We should all attempt to follow the example set by St. Francis by forming a deeper love of nature and all of Gods creations. Natural resources are limited and once they are gone we may find that society is struggling. We need to think ahead since the environment is starting to suffer, what will it be like in another 20 years or more?
We can all help by living a simpler lifestyle, so we are not accumulating a great deal of material goods that usually end up getting thrown away eventually. Also, by adopting a “Green” attitude, Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. I know that we have taken steps to reduce our footprint by recycling many things that would normally go into the garbage. We also compost our food waste so that it may be used to enrich the soil. We make use of public transportation when it is practical, and we drive a vehicle with good fuel economy. Make Saint Francis proud by extending your love to all men and Gods creations.