Prayer of St. Francis….

First, a bit of history…..
The Peace Prayer of St. Francis is a famous prayer which first appeared around the year 1915 A.D., and which embodies the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi’s simplicity and poverty. According to Father Kajetan Esser, OFM, the author of the critical edition of St. Francis’s Writings, the Peace Prayer of St. Francis is most certainly not one of the writings of St. Francis. This prayer, according to Father Schulz, Das sogennante Franziskusgebet, Forshungen zur evangelishen Gebetslitteratur (III), in Jahrbuch fur Liturgik und Hymnologie, 13 (1968), pp. 39-53, first appeared during the First World War. It was found written on the observe of a holy card of St. Francis, which was found in a Normal Almanac. The prayer bore no name; but in the English speaking world, on account of this holy card, it came to be called the Peace Prayer of St. Francis.

The Peace Prayer of St. Francis
by an anonymous Norman c. 1915 A.D. “Peace Prayer”

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred,Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
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. Amen

Now, my comment….
I took a counseling orientation class this term and, in the course of the class, we were asked to offer observations on what it is that makes us want to be counselors. I shared this prayer with Dr. Kaye Ekman, the professor. I told her that I feel that my goal is to learn to console, to understand, to love, to give, to convey Christ’s pardon for all, and to assist in helping others to be born into eternal life and that that is what counseling is to me. She asked for a copy of the prayer and thanked me for sharing it with her.

I think this prayer and Isaiah 61:1-4 are the foundations on which I stake my own sense of calling to counseling ministry. As I’ve worked with adults in the process of spiritual formation over the last 5 years, more and more often the work leads us to explore the personal “hurts, habits, and hangups” that have prevented them from experiencing freedom and joy in Christ. My style of counseling, as my own counselor has said, is likely to be more active, directive, and values-focused than many of my peers. The way I see it, if I am working in a Christian church environment, as a Christian educator/counselor, they should be able to anticipate that I would use a psychospiritual educational approach with a biblical basis.

I look forward to what the future holds, though there are some with reservations about my fitness for this career. Dr. Ekman seems very pleased with my career goals and has stated that my skills and capabilities are such that I should be very successful.