Saturday, June 11, 2011

Saint Francis of Assisi

Any time I encounter a statue of Saint Francis of Assisi and I have my camera, I must stop and photograph it. This habit is due to my mother, of course. If she had been Catholic and had to pick a saint during the Sacrament of Confirmation, I pretty confident she would have picked St. Francis. As an aside, I picked Joan of Arc, but I'll talk about that in another post.

Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher during the 12th and 13th centuries, who founded the Franciscan order. Born to a wealthy family, he gave up his worldly possessions for a life of poverty following a vision while fighting in a war. He is known as the patron saint of animals and the environment, which is probably why his statue in Middleburg shown in today's post was in close proximity to the statue of a fox in an earlier post.

Other than the Serenity Prayer, the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi is the only scripted prayer I pray. Its words remind me of the role I should play in my family, my workplace, my community and our world. Like Saint Francis, I believe that we are each a channel for good will and good works. Within us, we have the capability and tools to change the world and life's circumstances, bringing more peace and love and less hatred and destruction.

If I ever was a contestant in a beauty pageant and was asked, "How would you bring about world peace?," instead of responding with complicated solutions, such as eradicating global poverty or demilitarizing global powers, I would just simply say, "Through me."

I would start with me and then hopefully, living a life of love, integrity and compassion would catch on and others would live similar lives as well. Before we knew it, the world would be at peace. Yes, it is idealistic and eternally optimistic answer, but while change beginning with just me may be small, it is definitely better than no change at all.
Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury,pardon;
here 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.

1 comment: