As we near the final stage of our pilgrimage with THE PRAYING FRANCIS, we come to the summit of his contemplative experience of God.  THE PRAISES OF GOD MOST HIGH were written in St. Francis’ own hand for Brother Leo, who recorded for all future Franciscan generations the Seraphic Father’s own description of this peak of prayer: words of the Lord and His praises which I have meditated upon in my heart.

It was in September 1224 atop Mt. LaVerna that the stigmatized heart of St. Francis brought forth these words of wonder and awe, thanksgiving and blessing.  THE PRAISES are sublime in their simplicity yet simple in their sublimity.

They are a call both to song and to silence in the presence of Him who is our great and eternal Lord, our Creator, our Redeemer, our GOD and our ALL.

The original parchment containing THE PRAISES and THE BLESSING FOR BROTHER LEO is preserved to this day in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi , a silent witness to the Little Poor Man who, amazed at the greatness of the Lord’s workings in him, wrote them in his own hand, thanking God for the kindness bestowed on him.

You are holy Lord, the only God,
who does wonderful things.
You are strong. You are great.
You are the Most High.
You are the almighty King.
You, Holy Father, 
are King of heaven and earth.
You are three and one,
Lord, God of gods.
You are Good, all good, the highest Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love; You are charity.
You are wisdom. You are humility.
You are patience, You are beauty,
You are meekness.
You are security, You are rest.
You are gladness and joy,
You are our hope.
You are justice, You are moderation,
You are all our riches and You suffice for us.
You are beauty, You are meekness.
You are the protector,
You are our guardian and defender.
You are strength.
You are refreshment.
You are our hope,
You are our faith,
You are our charity.
You are all our sweetness.
You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord,
God Almighty,
Merciful Savior.

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Part 8

Contemplative prayer has been defined
by many spiritual writers as
the soul’s loving gaze on God.