Saturday, October 4, 2008

St. Francis of Assisi and Matt Talbot

Today is the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226), perhaps the best known saint world-wide, including non-Catholics.

Francis, a deacon rather than a priest, was an important model for Matt Talbot as Matt joined the Third Order of St. Francis, known today as the Franciscan Secular Order, in 1890, six years into recovery. Matt lived a life of simplicity, did not care for money, quietly exceeded in frequency the Order's days of fast and abstinence, attended all but two of their monthly meetings over two decades, went to daily Mass, prayed extensively, and actively practiced charity to all.

An alternative translation of the famous prayer of St. Francis is part of the study of the Eleventh Step of Alcoholics Anonymous in the book, Twelve Steps and Twelve (page 99). It reads:

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace;
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is doubt, I may bring faith;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to eternal life.

Two introductory articles about St. Francis can be found at: