When I was in college I read the Little Flowers of St. Francis and was bowled over. I've been a fan of St. Francis ever since. Seriously, I'm daily tempted to preach to the birds, to try to convert stray dogs, and to chat with Brother Sun and Sister Moon. I've got a St. Francis figure on my night stand when I go to sleep and one on my office desk when I go to work. And I wear a St. Francis medallion around my neck. These images remind me to receive everything around me, from people to the natural world, as an occasion of joy. Just like Francis did.
So at the Prison bible study this week I shared (of course) my favorite prayer, the one attributed to St. Francis. Many of the men in the study had never heard the prayer or of St. Francis. So I began regaling them with tales of St. Francis preaching to the birds or converting the wolf of Gubbio. After the study many of the men asked me for copies of St. Francis' prayer. So I'll be making about 50 copies of the prayer this week.
Of course, you all know this prayer. I try to pray it everyday:
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.