Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
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;
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.
About St Francis
Saint Francis' feast day is on 4th October. St Francis was born in 1181/82 in Italy and died in 1226. He was born into a weathly family, however, after military service and illness he turned to God.
After a pilgrimage to Rome, he said he had had a mystical vision of Jesus Christ in the Church of San Damiano outside of Assisi. The Icon of the Cruified Christ said to him, "Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins". He thought this to mean the ruined church in which he was presently praying, and so sold some cloth from his father's store to assist the priest there for this purpose. However, this angered his father, and ultimatly the disagreement led to St. Francis renouncing his father's wealth and he took to a life of poverty.
Francis then heard a sermon that changed his life. The sermon was about Matthew 10:9, in which Christ tells his followers they should go forth and proclaim that the Kingdom of Heaven was upon them, that they should take no money with them, nor even a walking stick or shoes for the road. He then went out to preach and had many followers. St Francis travelled far and wide, even preatching to a Sultan.
While he was praying on the mountain of Verna, during a forty-day fast in preparation for Michaelmas (September 29), Francis is said to have had a vision on or about September 14, 1224, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, as a result of which he received the stigmata.
St Francis is often associated with a love for nature and animals, there are many stories which illustrate this love. Perhaps the two most famous are the Wolf of Gubbio - where St Francis makes peace between a savage (he was actually starving) wolf and a town, by ensuring that the townsfolk cared and fed the wolf. Another story involves his tendancy for preaching to "his little brethren the birds."
He also created the first three dimensional Navity Scene (paintings did however exist before) in 1220.
"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men."
- St. Francis of Assisi