Below are extracts from some of the most famous sayings and prayers of St Francis of Assisi. Some of them are famous, such as Farncis’s prayer, “Make me an instrument of your peace,” while others are less well known but worth reading.
Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
when there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
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.
Not to hurt our humble brethren [the animals] is our first duty to them, but to stop there is not enough. We have a higher mission: to be of service to them whenever they require it…
If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.
Most high, all-powerful, good Lord,
yours are the praises, the glory, the honor, and all blessing.
To you alone, most high, do they belong,
and no man is worthy to mention your name.
Praise to you, my Lord, with all your creatures,
especially Brother Sun,
Who is the day and through whom you give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor;
and bears a likeness of you, most high one.
Praise to you, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars in heaven.
You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praise to you, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
and through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather
through which you give sustenance to your creatures.
Praise to you, my Lord, through Sister Water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praise to you, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you light the night.
He is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.
Praise to you, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces varied fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Praise to you, my Lord, through those who give pardon for your love
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed are those who endure in peace
for by you, most high, they shall be crowned.
Praise to you, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.
Praise and bless my Lord and give him thanks
and serve him with great humility.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
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Francis of Assisi is one of the best-loved of all Christian saints, who renounced possessions in his quest to be a follower of Jesus Christ. His ideals of poverty and peacemaking still inspire people today.
These pages were written by Howard Ingham.
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