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. And 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.

This prayer is commonly attributed to 13th century saint Francis of Assisi. Though it cannot be found in its current form further back than 1912, when it was published in a French magazine called La Ligue de la Saint-Messe (The League of the Holy Mass), the attribution continues. The real author’s name was not given. Dr. Christian Renoux, a professor at the University of New Orleans, conducted a thorough study into the history and background of the prayer and concludes it was first printed on the back of an image of St. Francis, without attribution. Because it was written on the back of Francis’ image, it has been assigned to him. The Quaker magazine Friends’ Intelligencer published the prayer under the mistaken title of “A Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.”

The prayer does have similarities to one written by Blessed Giles of Assisi, one of the companions of St. Francis. This lends to the myth of its authorship. But at the end of the day, it is not the author of the prayer that matters, but the words themselves. So why not pause right now, take a deep breath, and say them with me . . .

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. And 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.

 


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