In the school of prayer with St Francis of Assisi

 

St Francis of Assisi (1181?–1226): Who better to help us explore the joyful in life and prayer?

 
First, some notes on Franciscan-style prayer, based on an article by Stefan Walser.

Next, 3 prayers written by St Francis (or connected with him) for you to try on and adapt. Indoors or outdoors. Alone or together.

Finally, a ‘Digging deeper’ section with a video and some links.

 

Enjoy.


Characteristics of Franciscan prayer

1. Individual.  Francis of Assisi developed a personal and individual way of praying, based on his unique personality and life story, and he encourages us to do the same.

2. Responsorial.  Prayer is always a dialogue, a response, a ‘re-action’. Bringing one’s life to God, one gives back what one received from God. Therefore, Franciscan prayer always includes thanksgiving.

3. Affirmative.  In affirming the gift of life and God as the Creator of life, we develop an affirmative attitude in general.

4. Universal.  There is nothing that does not relate to God, and so there is nothing that cannot be part of prayer.

5. Connected to actions and work.  Francis prays, even in the most seclusive moments of his life, that his prayers might have some “output” and that he may fulfil “God’s commands”.

6. Integral part of communal life.  By centring communal life around prayer, a certain “contemplative” attitude in all things is maintained.

adapted from an MDPI article by Stefan Walser

 


Canticle of the Sun

Most High, all-powerful sweet Lord,
yours is the praise, the glory,
and the honour & every blessing.

Be praised, My Lord, for all your creatures,
and first for brother sun,
who makes the day bright and luminous.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour.
He is the image of you, Most High.

Be praised, My Lord, for sister moon
and the stars, in the sky.
You have made them brilliant & precious & beautiful.

Be praised, My Lord, for brother wind
and for the air both cloudy and serene
and every kind of weather,
through which you give nourishment to your creatures.

Be praised, My Lord, for sister water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.

Be praised, My Lord, for brother fire,
through whom you illuminate the night.
And he is beautiful and joyous and robust and strong.

Be praised, My Lord, for our sister, mother earth,
who nourishes us and watches over us
and brings forth various fruits with coloured flowers & herbs.

Be praised, My Lord,
for those who forgive through your love,
and bear sickness & tribulation;
blessed are those who endure in peace,
for they will be crowned by you, Most High.

Be praised, My Lord, for our sister, bodily death,
from whom no living thing can escape.
Blessed are those whom she finds
doing your most holy will,
for the second death cannot harm them.

Praise and bless My Lord
and give thanks to him
and serve him with great humility.

 

St Francis’ prayer inspired by the “Our Father”

O our most holy Father:
Our Creator, Redeemer, Consoler, and Savior,

You are in heaven:
And in the angels and saints,
Inflaming us to love, because You, Lord, are love,
And filling us with happiness as our Supreme and Eternal Good.

Glorious is Your name:
May our knowledge of You become ever clearer
That we may know Your blessings and Your majesty.

Your Kingdom come:
Give us unclouded vision to let you rule in us through Your grace,
And so we enjoy a blessed companionship with You forever.

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven:
That we may love You with our whole heart,
Desire You with our whole soul,
Always think of You with affection,
Spend all our energies in serving You,
And that we may love our neighbours with Your love.

Give us this day our daily Bread:
Which is our Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

And forgive us our trespasses:
Through Your indescribable mercy to us in Christ,
Which we see in the faith and prayers of the blessed virgin Mary.

Help us to forgive those who trespass against us:
You, Lord, enable us to forgive to the full
So that we may truly love our enemies and intercede for them.

Lead us not into temptation:
Keep us from all sin, hidden or obvious.

Deliver us from evil:
Keep us from all that’s bad in the past, present, and to come.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
As it was in the beginning, it is now, and will be forever.
Amen.

 

“Peace Prayer of Saint Francis”

First printed in France in 1912, this much-loved prayer may not have been written by St Francis, but it certainly embodies what he stood for.

 
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;
it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

source: The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #45

 


Digging deeper

Video: St. Francis from the series, “Who Cares About The Saints?”

Article: The Spirituality of St Francis of Assisi
Article: 7 Life lessons from St Francis of Assisi
Article: Francis of Assisi: A gospel way of life
Book review: When St Francis saved the church by Jon Sweeney
 


From the blog

Consolation joy


(Photo: Irene Bom)

 

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

(Psalm 94:19, NIVUK)

 


A prayer

How can I tell of such love to me?
You made me in your image
and hold me in the palm of your hand,
your cords of love, strong and fragile as silk,
      bind me and hold me.
Rich cords, to family and friends,
music and laughter echoing in memories,
light dancing on the water, hills rejoicing.
Cords that found me hiding behind carefully built walls
      and led me out,
love that heard my heart break and despair and rescued me,
love that overcame my fears and doubts and released me.
The questions and burdens I carry you take,
to leave my hands free – to hold yours, and others,
free to follow your cords as they move
and swirl in the breeze,
free to be caught up in the dance of your love,
finding myself in surrendering to you.
How can I tell of such love?
How can I give to such love?
I am, here am I.

 
by Catherine Hooper
from The Book of a Thousand Prayers by Angela Ashwin, #177
 


 
Recommendation
 
I’m thoroughly enjoying Ingrid Fettell Lee’s book, Joyful.
Check out her website, Aesthetics of Joy, for details and additional resources.
 

Theme: Rejoice in the Lord always

 

This prayer sheet is inspired by a recurring theme in Scripture: the phrase, “Rejoice in the Lord”.

 
For personal use or to share.


Joy is distinctly a Christian word and a Christian thing. It is the reverse of happiness. Happiness is the result of what happens of an agreeable sort. Joy has its springs deep down inside. And that spring never runs dry, no matter what happens. Only Jesus gives that joy. He had joy, singing its music within, even under the shadow of the cross.
S.D. Gordon

Continue reading “Theme: Rejoice in the Lord always”

God of solid joys


Mural in a side street close to the Scots International Church Rottedam  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Did you know?  
Last Sunday – the first Sunday after Easter – was celebrated in some churches as Holy Humour Sunday (also known as Bright Sunday, or Laughter Sunday).

 

Here is a prayer to the God of merriment by Bruce Prewer to launch the theme for May:

JOYFUL!


Prayer

God of merriment,
for whom the morning stars sing together
and all the children of God shout for joy,
help us keep our sense of humour.

When those around us get hyped-up
about the latest scientific discovery or technological wizardry,
help us to see the comical side of human self importance.

When we take ourselves too seriously,
as if the church were built on our devout efforts,
enable us to chuckle at our folly.

When evil parades itself in finery and thinks it owns the world,
or when untimely death appears to cut off saints in their prime,
fill us with the robust joy of Easter.

God of ‘solid joys and lasting pleasures’,
because of all your victories in Christ Jesus,
liberate us to share in the song of the morning stars
and the joyful shouts of the children of God.
Today and forever more. Amen!

— written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on http://www.bruceprewer.com/
 


 
From the blog
The Gift #9 : Joy
Nature bringing joy