Prayer of Saint Francis
The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Catholic Christian prayer. It is attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi, although the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in France in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell) as an anonymous prayer, as demonstrated by Dr. Christian Renoux in 2001.
The prayer has been known in the United States since 1927 when its first known translation in English appeared in January 1927 in the Quaker magazine Friends' Intelligencer (Philadelphia), where it was attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. Cardinal Francis Spellman and Senator Albert W. Hawkes distributed millions of copies of the prayer during and just after World War II.
The English version of the prayer reads as follows:
- 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.
Perhaps the original publication of the prayer was submitted anonymously to the French publication La Clochette in 1912.
- Seigneur, faites de moi un instrument de votre paix.
- Là où il y a de la haine, que je mette l'amour.
- Là où il y a l'offense, que je mette le pardon.
- Là où il y a la discorde, que je mette l'union.
- Là où il y a l'erreur, que je mette la vérité.
- Là où il y a le doute, que je mette la foi.
- Là où il y a le désespoir, que je mette l'espérance.
- Là où il y a les ténèbres, que je mette votre lumière.
- Là où il y a la tristesse, que je mette la joie.
- Ô Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu'à consoler,
- à être compris qu'à comprendre,
- à être aimé qu'à aimer,
- car c'est en donnant qu'on reçoit,
- c'est en s'oubliant qu'on trouve, c'est en pardonnant qu'on est pardonné,
- c'est en mourant qu'on ressuscite à l'éternelle vie.
An alternate version is found in Chapter 11 (Page 99) of the "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions", a book published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
- Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
- that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
- that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
- that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
- that where there is error, I may bring truth;
- that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
- that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
- that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
- that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
- Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
- to understand, than to be understood;
- to love, than to be loved.
- For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
- It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
- It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
The following variation on the prayer was delivered by Mother Theresa when she addressed the United Nations in 1985:
- Make us worthy Lord to serve our fellow men throughout the world,
- who live and die in poverty and hunger.
- Give them through our hands, this day, their daily bread
- and by our understanding love give peace and joy.
- Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
- That where there is hatred I may bring love,
- That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness,
- That where there is discord, I may bring harmony,
- That where there is error I may bring truth,
- That where there is doubt I may bring faith,
- That where there is despair I may bring hope,
- That where there are shadows I may bring light,
- That where there is sadness I may bring joy.
- Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted,
- To understand than to be understood,
- To love than to be loved.
- For it is by forgetting self that one finds.
- It is by forgiving that one is forgiven,
- it is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.
A popular hymn version, adapted and set to music by Sebastian Temple, ©1967 by OCP Publications, is Make Me A Channel of Your Peace. It is an anthem of the Royal British Legion and is usually sung every year at the Service of Remembrance in November at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Summarizing the Christian Renoux book on the prayer, an article by Egidio Picucci on the 19–20 January 2009 issue of L'Osservatore Romano says that the earliest record of the prayer is its appearance, as "a beautiful prayer to say during Mass" in the December 1912 number of the small devotional French publication La Clochette, "the bulletin of the League of the Holy Mass". In 1915, Marquis Stanislas de La Rochethulon, president of the Anglo-French association Souvenir Normand, which called itself "a work of peace and justice inspired by the testament of William the Conqueror, who is considered to be the ancestor of all the royal families of Europe", sent this prayer to Pope Benedict XV.
The Pope had an Italian translation published on the front page of L'Osservatore Romano of 20 January 1916. It appeared under the heading, "The prayer of Souvenir Normand for peace", and with the explanation: "Souvenir Normand has sent the Holy Father the text of some prayers for peace. We have pleasure in presenting in particular the prayer addressed to the Sacred Heart, inspired by the testament of William the Conqueror". On 28 January 1916, the French newspaper La Croix reprinted, in French, the Osservatore Romano article, with exactly the same heading and explanation. La Rochethulon wrote to the newspaper to clarify that it was not a prayer of Souvenir Normand, but he chose not to mention La Clochette, the first publication in which it had appeared. Because of its appearance on L'Osservatore Romano and La Croix as a prayer for peace during the First World War, this prayer then became widely known.
- Mother Teresa of Kolkata made it part of the morning prayers of the Roman Catholic religious institute she established, the Missionaries of Charity. She attributed importance to it when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1979 and asked that it be recited.
- Margaret Thatcher, after winning the 1979 United Kingdom general election, paraphrased the prayer on the doorstep of 10 Downing Street, surrounded by a throng of reporters, having "kissed hands" with Queen Elizabeth II and become Prime Minister.
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, declared that it was "an integral part" of his devotions.
- In October 1995, President Bill Clinton quoted it in his welcoming speech to Pope John Paul II on his arrival in New York to address the United Nations.
- Musical adaptations of the prayer include those by John Foley, John Michael Talbot, Sarah McLachlan, Moya Brennan, Sarah Hart, Sebastian Temple, Denison Witmer, the Ragamuffin Band, the Burns Sisters, Singh Kaur, Joey Rumor, and Ryan Cayabyab.
- The prayer is quoted in the movie Rambo by a priest as he blesses Sylvester Stallone before he sets off into Burma to rescue humanitarian workers.
- The prayer is quoted in an episode of the television series Justified (TV series) by the character Boyd Crowder, who preaches it to character Marshall Raylan Givens after having a revelation.
- The medic Eugene Roe recites part of the prayer in the episode "Bastogne" of Band of Brothers.
- The prayer was used in a slightly abbreviated form in the 1972 film, Brother Sun, Sister Moon.
- The prayer is also included in the song "The Shattered Fortress" by Dream Theater.
- The prayer is used by Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui in his Twin Hearts Meditation.
- The prayer is part of the mural above the interior entrance to the St. Anthony Dining Room on Leavenworth Street in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco, California.
- The prayer was read by the character of Sonny Corinthos at the funeral of Stone Cates in 1995 on General Hospital.
- The hymn form of the prayer was also a part of the funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales on 6 September 1997. Sinéad O'Connor included her version of the song on the Princess Diana tribute album.
- The prayer is sung by Snatam Kaur in her song Servant of Peace, which is on her album Liberation's Door.
- The prayer was sung during the religious wedding ceremony of Prince Albert II of Monaco to South African Charlene Wittstock on 2 July 2011.
- Radhanath Swami cites this in the book "The Journey Home" as an impetus in his epic journey to understand spiritual truths.
- The character of George mentions it and quotes wrongly from it ("It's better to love than to be loved...", etc.) in Episode 7 of Season 3 of the television show Bored To Death.
- The last episode of season 6 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Grave", uses the Sarah McLachlan song version for a montage.
- Reverend Smith, from the HBO series Deadwood, recites lines from the prayer in Season 1, Episode 11 "Jewel's Boot Is Made for Walking".
Historical studies 
- Christian Renoux, La prière pour la paix attribuée à saint François, une énigme à résoudre, Paris, Editions franciscaines, 2001 (in French).
- Christian Renoux, La preghiera per la pace attribuita a san Francesco, un enigma da risolvere, Padova, Edizioni Messaggero, 2003 (in Italian).
- Albert Haase, OFM, Instruments of Christ. Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2003.
- Cf. Christian Renoux, La prière pour la paix attribuée à saint François, une énigme à résoudre, Paris, Editions franciscaines, Paris, 2001, p. 92-95
- Renoux, Christian. "The Origin of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis". Retrieved 2011-05-25.
- Video on YouTube
- Short story of the prayer
- Another popular version of 'St. Francis Peace Prayer' & the version as featured in the DVD / TV Show 'Madre Teresa'
- A Biography of St Francis of Assisi
- Michael John Trotta's Setting for choir