Prayer of Saint Francis

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For a prayer actually written by Saint Francis, see Canticle of the Sun.

The Prayer of Saint Francis, also known as Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace is a Christian prayer. Widely but erroneously attributed to the thirteenth-century saint Francis of Assisi, the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in Paris in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell), published by La Ligue de la Sainte-Messe (The Holy Mass League). The author's name was not given, although it may have been the founder of La Ligue, Fr. Esther Bouquerel.

A professor at the University of Orleans in France, Dr. Christian Renoux, published a study of the prayer and its history in French in 2001.[1]

The prayer has been known in the United States since 1927 when its first known translation in English appeared in January of that year 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.[1]:92–95



Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And 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.

Hymn[edit]

A popular hymn version, adapted and set to music by Sebastian Temple, 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.

History[edit]

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.[2]

Quotations[edit]

  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, declared that it was "an integral part" of his devotions.
  • 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 medic Eugene Roe recites part of the prayer in the episode "Bastogne" of Band of Brothers.
  • The prayer is used by Grandmaster Choa Kok Sui in his Twin Hearts Meditation.
  • The prayer is sung by Snatam Kaur in her song Servant of Peace, which is on her album Liberation's Door.
  • Radhanath Swami cites this in the book "The Journey Home" as an impetus in his epic journey to understand spiritual truths.[4]
  • 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".
  • The prayer can be heard on the Canadian Tenors CD, "The Perfect Gift". (2009). It is called "Instrument of Peace".

Historical studies[edit]

  • 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).

Spirituality[edit]

  • Albert Haase, OFM, Instruments of Christ. Reflections on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2003.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Renoux, Christian (2001). La prière pour la paix attribuée à saint François: une énigme à résoudre. Paris: Editions franciscaines. ISBN 2-85020-096-4. 
  2. ^ Renoux, Christian. "The Origin of the Peace Prayer of St. Francis". Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  3. ^ Video on YouTube
  4. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Dpwz-Biehag

External links[edit]