The Praying Francis

(part 1)

Great God of all glory
and You, my Lord Jesus Christ,
I beseech You to enlighten me,

to dispel the darkness of my mind,
and to give me a pure faith,
a firm hope
and perfect charity.
O my God,
grant me to know You so well
that in all things I may be guided by Your light
and act always in conformity
with Your most holy Will.

Amen.

     Several manuscript versions of the PRAYER BEFORE THE SAN DAMIANO CRUCIFIX exist, each testifying to the young St. Francisí struggle to let the good seed of the Gospel take root and bear fruit in his life.

     This is a prayer of the springtime of his conversion to Christ, on which Godís answering grace continued to unfold and expand throughout his lifetime.  While this is assuredly a prayer for any and every season, it is a particularly good prayer for Lent, the springtime of the liturgical year, when we, like our Father St. Francis, place ourselves before the mirror of Christ Crucified, seeking to set straight in our lives both our Christian priorities and our Franciscan practicalities.

     Although we may never audibly hear the Lord Jesus telling us to repair His Church, as He told St. Francis, we can be certain that He will supply those spiritual building blocks of faith, hope and charity needed to repair the Church of God within our souls (and without, as well!), in the spirit which animated the Seraphic Father Francis, - happily, humbly and holily.

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