The Prayer of St. Francis has been used and shared in different cultures, religions, and by different people for centuries. It’s a simple yet profound prayer that continues to be a source of inspiration for many.
What is the Peace Prayer of St. Francis?
The Peace Prayer of St. Francis is a powerful and well-known prayer that is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic friar who lived in the 12th and 13th centuries. The prayer is also known as the “Prayer for Peace” or the “Prayer of St. Francis,” and it is widely considered to be a prayer for peace, harmony, and understanding among all people.
It goes as follows:
Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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;
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Significance of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis
The significance of the prayer lies in its message of universal love and compassion. The prayer calls on God to grant peace to all people, and it asks that people may have the strength to overcome hatred and violence and to work towards peace and understanding. The prayer speaks of humility, forgiveness, and the willingness to serve others, which is the main teachings of St. Francis.
The prayer is also significant because it is a reminder of the importance of inner peace and the power of prayer. It encourages people to look inside themselves and to find peace within themselves, which will help them to be better able to contribute to the peace of others.
Who is Saint Francis of Assissi?
St. Francis of Assisi (born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone) is a Catholic saint and the founder of the Franciscan Order. He was born in Italy in the 12th century and lived a lavish lifestyle before experiencing a religious conversion. He became known for his devotion to poverty and love of nature, famously preaching to animals. He also founded the Franciscan Order of monks, which focused on humility and simplicity.
St. Francis is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic Church and is the patron saint of animals, merchants, and ecology.
Origin of the Prayer
The origin of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis is somewhat uncertain. The prayer is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, but it does not appear in any of the writings that have been directly attributed to him. The prayer first appeared in print in French in 1912 in a small book called “La Prière de Saint François d’Assise” (“The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi”) by a French priest named Louis Bouyer. The prayer quickly gained popularity and was soon translated into many other languages.
It is also believed that the prayer has been passed down orally for centuries. Its origin might be in the oral tradition, but it’s unclear if St. Francis himself wrote the prayer or if it was written later in his name. It is said that the prayer is a modern version of an older prayer that has been attributed to St. Francis. This older prayer, known as the “Prayer for Peace,” is said to have been written by St. Francis as a call to all Christians to work for peace and reconciliation.
Uses Over Time
The Peace Prayer of St. Francis has been used and shared in a variety of ways over time. For example:
- It has been incorporated into religious services and gatherings
- It has been included in personal spiritual practices such as meditation and journaling
- It has been adopted as a symbol of peace and social justice movements
- It has been widely shared through printed materials like books, brochures, and cards
- It has been made accessible to a wider audience on social media
Overall, its message of peace, love, and compassion has remained consistent.
The Relevance of the Prayer Today
The Peace Prayer of St. Francis is still highly relevant today because its message of universal love and compassion aligns with modern values and beliefs. The prayer calls for peace and understanding among all people, regardless of their race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.
It also emphasizes the importance of humility, forgiveness, and the willingness to serve others, which are values that are often emphasized in today’s society. Additionally, the prayer’s message of inner peace aligns with the modern emphasis on self-care and mental health.
Modern organizations that use the prayer
The prayer is used by many organizations and movements that work towards peace and social justice. Some examples include:
- Pax Christi International, an international Catholic peace movement that uses the prayer as a symbol of its mission and values.
- The Franciscan Action Network, a Catholic advocacy organization that uses it to inspire its work for peace, justice, and care for creation.
- Interfaith Alliance, an organization that promotes interfaith understanding and cooperation, which includes the prayer in its resources for interfaith dialogue.
- Peace and Justice groups and campaigns that use the prayer as a call to action for individuals and communities to strive for peace and harmony in the world.
These are just a few examples, but the Peace Prayer of St. Francis is used by many other organizations and movements as well, both religious and secular.
The Peace Prayer of St. Francis is a powerful and inspiring message of peace, compassion, and understanding. It has been used and shared in a variety of ways over time and its message of peace, love, and compassion has remained consistent.
It continues to be a powerful source of inspiration and guidance for people of all backgrounds and beliefs, reminding us of the importance of inner peace and the power of prayer in promoting peace in the world.