Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Franciscan Prayer for School

One of the great things about the school where I'll be teaching this year is that we can pray before every class. I'd been looking for a short Franciscan prayer - and then found just what I needed

St. Francis: Prayer Before the Crucifix.

Most High,
glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart.
Give me,
right faith,
sure hope,
and perfect charity.
Fill me with understanding
and knowledge,
that I may carry out
Your holy and true command.

The prayer is one St. Francis composed at the foot of the crucifix in the church of San Damiano, where he received the command, "Francis, go and repair my house, which, as you see, is falling completely into ruin."

Father Jack Wintz, O.F.M., includes this prayer in his book, Friar Jack's Favorite Prayers. He notes "each time I pray it, I am more and more convinced that it reveals the authentic heart of St. Francis."

It begins, he observes, not focused on "some dark misery of the soul. Rather it begins focused on the glory and sublime beauty of God."

Father Wintz says he likes the fact Francis asked God to enlighten the darkness of his "heart" rather than "mind," as "heart" seems more the real St. Francis.

"Heart suggests the complexities of human love and the mystery of one's innermost longing - with all its related joys and sorrows."

I like the request that God fill whoever is saying the prayer with the understanding and knowledge needed to carry out His command, which is to reach out to humanity with "perfect charity" - to show others the same kind of love God has shown us.

It seems appropriate to ask for knowledge and understanding in a school prayer - and with a reminder to me as the teacher to show charity for my students!

Pax et bonum

1 comment:

Barb, sfo said...

This is my favorite Franciscan prayer. It's a great prayer to start the day. I pray it after receiving Communion as well.