My professor used the Prayer of St. Francis (below) in one of devotions before the lecture in my online class. I had seen parts of this before, but was really struck reading the whole thing. It was a great reminder that we as Christians are to be a light to the world, which is often in stark contrast to the darkness and hopelessness of the world. I really loved the devotional words that my professor added after the prayer. I hope that you will read and be encouraged by this prayer and devotional.
The Prayer of Saint Francis
“O Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace!
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light, and
Where there is sorrow, joy.
Oh 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.”
Francis of Assisi, the presumed author of the above prayer, challenged his generation to a life of complete submission to Christ. Following the lead of the humble, mendicant from Assisi, Franciscan friars fanned out across Europe proclaiming a simple Gospel and calling Christians to a deeper walk with Christ. Francis espoused a lifestyle of trust, submission, humility, love, and peace in a violent era. His life stood in stark contrast to the force of the Crusades and coercion of the emerging Inquisition.
Francis’ prayer calls to my mind Paul’s admonition in Colossians 3:12-17.
12Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
―Colossians 3: 12-17 (English Standard Version)
Like Francis, we live in a fractured, contentious world where compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and peace are in short supply. As disciples of Christ, we are called to be witnesses to His grace, His love, and His peace in word and deed.
May the words of the Apostle Paul and the prayer of a wandering beggar for Christ challenge you and me to demonstrate Christ-likeness in all we do, in word or deed.