This prayer has been on my heart for a while now. When I was in 6th grade I knew the song version of this prayer but now-a-days I can only remember bits and pieces. I finally had the time to sit down and think about finding these beautiful words again and taking comfort in them. They call everyone, not only Christians, to a deeper level of love that looks beyond personal comfort. Despite is love for fine things Francis always had a heart for the poor and would give generously to help support them.
They were written by St. Francis of Assisi who was born in Assisi, Italy in 1182. No one loved pleasure more than Francis; he was clever, loved to sing, wore fine clothes and was always putting on showy displays. Handsome, fun loving, gallant, and courteous, he was very popular among the young nobles of Assisi.
One day, while crossing the Umbrian plain on horseback, Francis unexpectedly drew near a poor leper. The sudden appearance of this repulsive object filled him with disgust and he instinctively retreated, but presently controlling his natural aversion he dismounted, embraced the unfortunate man, and gave him all the money he had. This act begain a work in Francis that would continue and grow for the rest of his life. His dying words were "I have done my part, may Christ teach you to do yours."
I wanted to share his words with you and if nothing else to appreciate the man who was close enough to Christ's heart to relay them to us...
"Lord, make me an instrument of your 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;
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"