A Meditation About St. Francis of Assisi

From the book “Among The Blessed: Loving Thoughts About Favourite Saints”, By Matthew Russell SJ. Longmans, Green and Co., London, 1911. pp. 146-7.

A copy of this book is digitized and can be found at archive.org.


St. Francis of Assisi, the seraph-saint of love,
Christ’s glorious poverello, fixed all his hopes above.
He cared not for the sorrows or the shame and pain of life,
And of his wounds he recked not in the ardour of the strife.
“My God, my all !” he murmured, and yearned for nought beside;
He lived on love of Jesus, and ’twas of love he died.

His heart was large and tender, he loved the beasts and birds;
His twittering sister-swallows listened silent to his words.
The cruel wolf of Gobbio his gentle glance could tame,
And to his whispered bidding obedient it became.
Before the murderous brigand with prayers and tears he fell —
“On thine own soul have mercy!” — and he saved that soul from hell.

St. Francis of Assisi is glorious now in Heaven,
And e’en on earth has genius its richest tribute given
To him the poor and lowly who only loved the Cross,
And looked on wealth and honour as foolishness and dross.
Brave warriors, bright maidens, soon dead, forgotten long —
But Francis still is living in our hearts and in our song.

On the snowy heights of Dante thou, Francis, hast thy place;
Thy Fioretti charm us with subtlest, rarest grace
The pathos of thy story the poet’s soul has fired,
The highest flights of Bossuet have been by thee inspired;
And Giotto, Perugino, have laid in homage meet
Their art’s divinest treasures beneath thy pierced feet.

But gentle Father Francis will bid us link his name
With those who in his footsteps to the Heart of Jesus came —
Good Brother Giles, and Bernard, the first to join the Saint,
And Juniper, and Leo, so holy and so quaint,
And all the thousand thousands who have fasted, preached, and prayed
In the brown Franciscan habit — ne’er may its glory fade!

Great Saint ! on earth thou madest meek Poverty thy bride,
And on the Cross with Jesus thy flesh was crucified.
May I, in coward’s measure, partake thy blissful pain,
That somewhere in Christ’s kingdom I too at length may reign!
To think of thee, St. Francis, is both a joy and fear,
For I must win that Heaven which cost thee not too dear.


St. Francis’ Paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer

Featured Image Photo Credit: Kristin McCarthy, 2016, Ermitage Saint-Antoine de Lac-Bouchette, Lac Bouchette, Quebec, Canada

The book “Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi” (R. Washbourne Publisher, 18 Paternoster Row, London. 1882) is authored by St. Francis of Assisi. The publisher has taken his writings and letters and the rules for the Friars Minor and created a really interesting book—it is Francis’ own words and writings, including prayers. The Lord’s Prayer is found on pp. 170-1.

A copy of this book is digitized and can be found at archive.org.

St. Francis’ Paraphrase of the Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, most Blessed and most Holy, our Creator, our Redeemer, and our Comforter.

Who art in Heaven, in the Angels and Saints, illuminating them with the knowledge of Thyself, for Thou, O Lord, art Light; inflaming them with Thy Divine love, for Thou, O Lord, art Love ; dwelling in them and filling them with beatitude, for Thou, O Lord, art the Sovereign Good, the Eternal Good, from Whom proceeds all good, and without Whom nothing is good.

Hallowed be Thy Name, May Thy knowledge shine in us, that we may know the breadth of Thy benefits, the length of Thy promises, the height of Thy Majesty, and the depth of Thy judgments.

Thy Kingdom come, that Thou mayest reign in us by Thy grace, and bring us to Thy Kingdom when we shall enjoy Thy open vision. Thy perfect love. Thy blessed company and Thy eternal fruition.

Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven, that we may love Thee with our whole heart by always thinking of Thee; with our whole soul by always desiring Thee; with all our mind by always directing our intention to Thee, and seeking Thy glory in all things; and with all our strength by employing all the powers and senses of our soul and body in the service of Thy love, and in nothing else; and that we may love our neighbour as ourselves, drawing all to Thy love with all our power, rejoicing in the good of others as in our own, compassionating them in their troubles, and giving offence to no one.

Give us this day, by our remembrance, understanding and reverence for the love He bore to us, and of all He did, and said and suffered for us, our daily bread; that is, Thy beloved Son Our Lord Jesus Christ.

And forgive us our trespasses, by Thy ineffable mercy, in virtue of the Passion of Thy beloved Son Our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the merits and intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints.

As we forgive them that trespass against us, and what we do not fully forgive, do Thou, O Lord, make us forgive; that for Thy sake we may truly love our enemies, and devoutly intercede for them with Thee; that we may never render evil for evil, but for Thy love may endeavour to serve all.

And lead us not into temptation, whether hidden or manifest, sudden or constant.

But deliver us from evil, past, present and future.

Amen. Spontaneously and out of Thy free mercy.