There's this prayer called the Prayer of St. Francis. It's printed on the back of every holy card of St. Francis I've ever seen. There are a couple of hymns that consist of its words set to music. It goes like this:
- 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.
As always, there are alternate versions floating around, too. I particularly like the middle part of the prayer. How many of us petition the Almighty for consolation, understanding, and love? Ought we not petition Him as well for the capacity, opportunity, and will to console, to understand, to love? How often do we do that?
As nice as it is, that prayer doesn't appear to have been written by St. Francis at all. Here's a Wikipedia article on its origins. Incidentally, if it had been written by St. Francis, we'd probably be aware of it; the Catholic Encyclopedia says, "The literary materials for the history of St. Francis are more than usually copious and authentic. There are indeed few if any medieval lives more thoroughly documented."
Here's something that really was written by St. Francis, in 1224 (and was first mentioned in print only four years later, in a biography of him by Thomas of Celano).
Laudes Creaturum ("Praise of the Creatures")
Most High, all-powerful, all-good Lord,
All praise is Yours, all glory, honor and blessings.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong;
no mortal lips are worthy to pronounce Your Name.
We praise You, Lord, for all Your creatures,
especially for Brother Sun,
who is the day through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendor,
of You Most High, he bears your likeness.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars,
in the heavens you have made them bright, precious and fair.
We praise You, Lord, for Brothers Wind and Air,
fair and stormy, all weather's moods,
by which You cherish all that You have made.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Water,
so useful, humble, precious and pure.
We praise You, Lord, for Brother Fire,
through whom You light the night.
He is beautiful, playful, robust, and strong.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Earth,
who sustains us
with her fruits, colored flowers, and herbs.
We praise You, Lord, for those who pardon,
for love of You bear sickness and trial.
Blessed are those who endure in peace,
by You Most High, they will be crowned.
We praise You, Lord, for Sister Death,
from whom no-one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in their sins!
Blessed are those that She finds doing Your Will.
No second death can do them harm.
We praise and bless You, Lord, and give You thanks,
and serve You in all humility.
Stylistically, it's rather different from the other, isn't it? Not nearly as tidy. But... it has a better claim to the title Prayer of St. Francis (although it is not the only one he wrote).