Legend of Saint Francis: Renunciation of Worldly Goods, 1297-99, Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337), Fresco, 270 X 230 cm, Upper Church, San Francesco, Assisi, Image from Web Gallery of Art.
After a week of telling my students the story of St. Francis and his renunciation of family and worldly goods, my hymn book fell open to St. Francis’ Prayer this morning and it just hit the right note for me. So I thought I would share this painting and his prayer for this Sunday’s blog. I will point out that Giotto in this Fresco, paints a definite separation between the young Francis and his father as he strips off all his clothes and casts them at his feet. This story is one of my favorite moments in the life of St. Francis and he has so many charming anecdotes that it is difficult to choose. But here is what I think is important….the kids loved hearing about St. Francis…..he was very attractive to them…..and so I think we should keep this in mind when we are trying to appeal to the younger generation. An imitation of Christ is attractive…and so without further thought or comment I give you St. Francis’ Prayer.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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;
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.