Prayer of St Francis Words to Live By

Tina Barbour of Bringing Along OCD quoted the Prayer of St Francis in her post yesterday and I realized that I’ve never told my readers about what this prayer has meant to me.

The song version, adapted and set to music by Sebastian Temple, is my personal favorite: Here are the words…

Prayer of St Francis

Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love,
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
And where there’s doubt true faith in you.
Make me a channel of your peace:
Where there’s despair in life, let me bring hope,
Where there is darkness, only light,
And where there’s sadness, ever joy.
O Master, grant that I may never seek
So much to be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved, as to love with all my soul!
Make me a channel of your peace:
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
In giving of ourselves that we receive,
And in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Prayer of St Francis

Words to live by

I am sure it is obvious why I love the Prayer of St Francis. Many before me have let it inspire their lives. And by reading it, anyone can see why – because it is about hope and generosity of spirit. It is words we can all live by: “In giving that we receive.” It encourages us to make every decision in our day with the intention of peace in relationship. What a beautiful idea.

It acknowledges that there is suffering in the world, but touts that in that within all that suffering, you can find peace, love, and compassion – especially when we step outside of ourselves. The prayer de-centers us in a world where we often center ourselves. When we are suffering we are often in victim mentality (feel like the world is against us- and we fight ourselves whether we deserve it or not). This distracts us from the path to healing as well as exponentially increases our suffering. It is when we step out of ourselves and into giving to others that healing can come to us.

We’re connected.

Some people wonder if people can “give to a fault”, and maybe this lies in where the intention is because if there are expectations or conditions not received–giving can be depleting. (i.e., giving within victim mentality doesn’t work.) But pure giving is always uplifting. Since we are all connected, giving to others is like giving to yourself. So also in giving to ourselves, we are also giving to others. We are each other.

St Francis knew this. He saw the divine in every creature and element. He was a mystical healer, calling everything sister and brother and he saw the connectedness. Brother Wolf, Sister Birds, Brother Wind, and  Sister Moon, for example. He even called his chronic illnesses “sister.”  He loved nature and always worked for peace between nature and humans, and between humans and humans. (He even tried to end the Crusades!)

There is a story that I love, in the “Fioretti” (a collection of legends of St Francis) because it is of a wolf. And I love wolves.

There was a wolf terrorizing the town of Gubbio, eating live stock and even people. St. Frances went up to the mountain to make peace with the wolf. The legends says that St. Francis found the wolf and made the sign of the cross and convinced Brother Wolf to make peace with the town. Taking the wolf down the mountain to Gubbio, negotiating if the townspeople fed the wolf, (for what he did was out of hunger) the wolf would stop eating them and their flocks. Again in front of the townspeople, Francis blessed Brother Wolf bringing peace to Gubbio.

What are you going to do this year to promote peace? What does the Prayer of St. Francis mean to you? 

Please share!

25 thoughts on “Prayer of St Francis Words to Live By”

  1. Jodi, happy New Year!

    Thanks for sharing these immortal words which have been a guiding force in my life for so long.

    I have these words on my wall in front of my exercise bike – and I read the verse again and again whilst cyclng:-)

    I wish you all the best for 2013 – may it be your BEST year ever in all areas of your life…

    Love and best wishes

    Arvind Devalia recently posted..Why Love is all That Matters Beyond 21.12.12My Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Thanks Arvind! It’s like going so deep within that we are outside. Or going so far outside that we are inside. It is in the contrast we can find Spirit!
      Thanks, you have a great year as well!
      I’m planning in making the most of mine!

  2. Harleena Singh@Freelance Writer

    Loved the poem Jodi!

    I learnt many new things from the story of St Francis and the other links mentioned – so thank’s for that. And yes, peace to me means being at peace first with our inner-self and then spreading it around. I guess when you do that you serve a greater purpose – isn’t it?

    Wishing you and your family a happy and prosperous New Year as well. 🙂

  3. This was one of my favorites when I was a kid. We used to sing it. I don’t go to Catholic church anymore – seeing these old prayers makes me miss it.

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      St Francis doesn’t share too much of what the current Catholic Church is like, but he would try to help make peace between everyone. 🙂

  4. solidgoldcreativity

    Happy new year, Jodi. I love this line in particular, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”

    I like hearing about St Francis because it brings me close to my father. His middle name was Francis and he fed and called to the wild birds of his neighbourhood. When he died two years ago, the birds missed him. On the day of his funeral, a formation of pelicans rode the thermals high above his grave.

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      I also love the part about forgiveness. So much of what I’m understanding leads me to this is how we change the world. I love the story of your father and his sister birds.:) I can picture them. What a beautiful tribute!

  5. You know what Jodi? I have seen and heard that prayer before but it has never taken on any real meaning until now. Another reminder for me to slow down and bring more presence to the world 🙂

  6. Jodi, Happy New Year, my friend! How wonderful to read St. Francis’ prayer once again. Reading it, I was reminded of the many times my children and I used to sing it during mass. It is such a beautiful prayer, as is the story of brother Wolf! Now this one I had not heard and simply loved it! Thank goodness for the wisdom of St. Francis and his ability to bring peace to the town of Gubbio and provide the wolf with what he needed. If only we were half this wise! Hugs to you from Roxy and me! 🙂
    Bella recently posted..What can we do when things don’t turn out the way we planned?My Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Just talking to my hubby today about taking a long desired trip to England soon. I told him about you, said we’d have to do lunch! Xoxo

  7. Hi Jodi,

    Unfortunately, the only time I hear this prayer/song is at funerals. That said, it brings comfort in time of need. The world so needs this prayer. Too bad this it can’t be aired on CNN every day – along with all the bad news – to give hope and provide direction to its many listeners. “Make me a channel of your peace…”
    Margaret Duarte recently posted..Holding Cross, A Comfort in Times of NeedMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      What a great idea! We all need to be a little less selfish, I think. That can shift so many of the world’s problems!

  8. For me the enlightenment (at least partly) re: giving without expectation came one year while doing Christmas cards. My ex meticulously tracked who sent back cards, and if they missed two years in a row, they got scratched off his list as ungrateful so-and-so’s.

    I always sent out to everybody I cared about, yet felt hurt when friends and family didn’t reciprocate. His attitude inspired me to take my own out and re-examine it. I realized that actually, sending the cards was about ME – *I* wanted to honor the connection to these people, and to send them my best wishes, and it really didn’t matter if they formally reciprocated or not.

    Since then I’ve tried to look at whether I am giving freely, or with expectations. While not being willing to be a patsy (always being the one buying lunch when I meet a girlfriend, for instance), I actually “get” more in my heart from not trying to keep track of who owes me back something; who made the last phone call, whatever.
    Beverly Diehl recently posted..Slut of the Month: BoudiccaMy Profile

    1. Jodi Lobozzo Aman

      Beverly, this is awesome! I never send Christmas cards. I connect with people all the time through other methods, so I don’t chose to use the paper. But I think about my friends and family and they know I’ll do anything for them. And I do all through the year. ‘Love doesn’t keep record.’ Big hug!

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