The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Thy 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;
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.




St. Francis in Ecstacy by Carravagio (detail)
Listen to: The Prayer of St Francis
sung by Sara McLaughlin
St. Francis in Ecstasy by Carravagio (detail)
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About Ecstatic Spiritual Experiences

"... From St. Catherine... Divine Dialogue...

Oftentimes, through the perfect union which the soul has made with Me, she is raised from the earth almost as if the heavy body became light. But this does not mean that the heaviness of the body is taken away, but that the union of the soul with Me is more perfect than the union of the body with the soul; wherefore the strength of the spirit, united with Me, raises the weight of the body from the earth, leaving it as if immoveable and all pulled to pieces in the affection of the soul. Thou rememberest to have heard it said of some creatures, that were it not for My Goodness, in seeking strength for them, they would not be able to live; and I would tell thee that, in the fact that the souls of some do not leave their bodies, is to be seen a greater miracle than in the fact that some have arisen from the dead, so great is the union which they have with Me.
I, therefore, sometimes for a space withdraw from the union, making the soul return to the vessel of her body . . . from which she was separated by the affection of love. From the body she did not depart, because that cannot be except in death; the bodily powers alone departed, becoming united to Me through affection of love. The memory is full of nothing but Me, the intellect, elevated, gazes upon the object of My Truth; the affection, which follows the intellect, loves and becomes united with that which the intellect sees. These powers being united and gathered together and immersed and inflamed in Me, the body loses its feeling, so that the seeing eye sees not, and the hearing ear hears not, and the tongue does not speak; except as the abundance of the heart will sometimes permit it, for the alleviation of the heart and the praise and glory of My Name. The hand does not touch and the feet walk not, because the members are bound with the sentiment of Love.

St. Francis and St. Catherine of Siena both received the stigmata in ecstasy: almost all the entrancements of Suso and many of those of St. Teresa and Angela of Foligno, entailed symbolic vision, rather than pure perception of the Absolute. More and more, then, we are forced to the opinion that ecstasy, in so far as it is not a synonym for joyous and expansive contemplation, is really the name of the outward condition rather than of any one kind of inward experience.

... the onset of ecstasy has been seen as a gradual, though always involuntary process. Generally it has been the culminating point of a period of contemplation. The self, absorbed in the orison of quiet or of union, or some analogous concentration on its transcendental interests, has passed over the limit of these states; and slid into a still ecstatic trance, with its outward characteristics of rigid limbs, cold, and depressed respiration.

The ecstasy, however, instead of developing naturally from a state of intense absorption in the Divine Vision, may seize the subject abruptly and irresistibly, when in his normal state of consciousness. This is strictly what ascetic writers mean by Rapture. We have seen that the essence of the mystic life consists in the remaking of personality: its entrance into a conscious relation with the Absolute.

This process is accompanied in the mystic by the development of an art expressive of his peculiar genius: the art of contemplation. His practice of this art, like the practice of poetry, music, or any other form of creation, may follow normal lines, at first amenable to the control of his will, and always dependent on his own deliberate attention to the supreme Object of his quest; that is to say, on his orison. His mystic states, however they may end, will owe their beginning to some voluntary act upon his part: a deliberate response to the invitation of God, a turning from the visible to the invisible world. Sometimes, however, his genius for the transcendent becomes too strong for the other elements of character, and manifests itself in psychic disturbances—abrupt and ungovernable invasions from the subliminal region—which make its exercise parallel to the "fine frenzy" of the prophet, the composer, or the poet.

Such is Rapture: a violent and uncontrollable expression of genius for the Absolute, which temporarily disorganizes and may permanently injure the nervous system of the self. Often, but not necessarily, Rapture—like its poetic equivalent—yields results of great splendour and value for life. But it is an accident, not an implicit of mystical experience: an indication of disharmony between the subject's psychophysical make-up and his transcendental powers.

Rapture, then, may accompany the whole development of selves of an appropriate type. We have seen that it is a common incident in mystical conversion. The violent uprush of subliminal intuitions by which such conversion is marked disorganizes the normal consciousness, overpowers the will and the senses, and entails a more or less complete entrancement."





Quoted from: MYSTICISM: The Nature and Development of Spiritual Consciousness by Evelyn Underhill (About)

Part 2: Chapter 8: Ecstasy and Rapture



History and... of the Prayer of and Carravagio's Painting of St. Francis

Saint Francis of Assisi in Ecstasy (or The Ecstasy of Saint Francis) is a painting by the Italian Baroque master Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It is held in the Wadsworth Atheneum[1] in Hartford, Connecticut.

The painting was the first of Caravaggio's religious canvasses, and is thought to date from 1595, when he had recently entered the household of Cardinal Francesco Maria Del Monte. It was presumably painted at the behest of Del Monte, and is thought to be one of the first paintings done by the artist as "Del Monte's painter", as he is believed to have described himself over the next few years while living in Palazzo Madama. It shows Saint Francis of Assisi (the Cardinal's name-saint) at the moment of receiving the signs of the Stigmata, the wounds left in Christ's body by the Crucifixion. The story is told by one of Francis' companions, Brother Leo. In 1224 Francis retired to the wilderness with a small number of his followers to contemplate God. On the mountainside at night Brother Leo saw a six-winged seraph (one of the higher Orders of angels) come down to Francis in answer to the saint's prayer that he might know both Christ's suffering and His love:

All of a sudden there was a dazzling light. It was as though the heavens were exploding and splashing forth all their glory in millions of waterfalls of colours and stars. And in the center of that bright whirlpool was a core of blinding light that flashed down from the depths of the sky with terrifying speed until suddenly it stopped, motionless and sacred, above a pointed rock in front of Francis. It was a fiery figure with wings, nailed to a cross of fire. Two flaming wings rose straight upward, two others opened out horizontally, and two more covered the figure. And the wounds in the hands and feet and heart were blazing rays of blood. The sparkling features of the Being wore an expression of supernatural beauty and grief. It was the face of Jesus, and Jesus spoke. Then suddenly streams of fire and blood shot from His wounds and pierced the hands and feet of Francis with nails and his heart with the stab of a lance. As Francis uttered a mighty shout of joy and pain, the fiery image impressed itself into his body, as into a mirrored reflection of itself, with all its love, its beauty, and its grief. And it vanished within him. Another cry pierced the air. Then, with nails and wounds through his body, and with his soul and spirit aflame, Francis sank down, unconscious, in his blood.[2]

Quoted from:


Other Info

The Prayer of Saint Francis is a Christian prayer for peace. It is attributed to the 13th-century saint Francis of Assisi, although the prayer in its present form cannot be traced back further than 1912, when it was printed in France in French, in a small spiritual magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell) as an anonymous prayer, as demonstrated by Dr Christian Renoux in 2001 (Cf. Christian Renoux, La prière pour la paix attribuée à saint François, une énigme à résoudre, Paris, Editions franciscaines, Paris, 2001).

The prayer has been known in the United States since 1936 and Cardinal Francis Spellman and the Senator Hawkes distributed millions of copies of the prayer during and just after World War II (Cf. C. Renoux, op. cit., p. 92-95).

Quoted from:

Also see: the Catholic Franciscans Article: The Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi

Catholic History states: "St. Francis of Assisi was the first to receive the stigmata or wounds of Our Lord on his body."