By Art Laffin
(Written in the Crypt where St. Francis is buried, Assisi, 12-3 11)
St. Francis, most faithful disciple of Jesus, holy one of the poor, servant of the outcasts, lover of creation, you who bore the sacred stigmata of Jesus, thank you for showing everyone–past and present–how much God loves us and that we are all children of the same Creator.
Thank you for showing the world how to love, to practice voluntary poverty and to safeguard our sacred earth and environment.
You who kissed a leper and washed their wounds, thank you for your solidarity with the least of these–the poor, rejected and despised.
Thank you for your choice to renounce possessions and wealth so that you could devote your life, without compromise, to Jesus.
Thank you for so powerfully exemplifying the words of Jesus: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.”
Thank you for showing the world the path to real peace.
You quit being a soldier and laid down your weapons, and, in the midst of war, met with the Sultan in Egypt.
Help me and all people to be an instrument of God’s peace and reconciling love and, to embrace as you did so completely, Jesus’ way of nonviolence.
Empower me, and all people, to know that the only way to bring about lasting peace and justice is by living out God’s call of love, compassion, mercy and justice.
Help me, and all people, to share what we have, especially the rich and affluent. Help me and all people to dismantle and change structures and policies that exploit and oppress.
Help me, and all people, to work for the common good and reject the sins of violence, greed and war, and anything that wounds or divides.
Help me to always bring unity where there is discord, to bring light where there is darkness, and to bring hope where there is despair.
St. Francis, help me to relinquish all fears and anxieties, so that I can have a heart of love like you had.
Intercede for me so that I can completely trust in the God who is the source of all life.
Most holy poor man of Assisi, help me always to follow Jesus, no matter what the cost.