The Prayer of Saint Francis has been my favorite prayer since I first read it many years ago. It encompasses the characteristics a Christian should show in their lives.
"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.
Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher.
He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis.
He is one of the most venerated religious figures in history.
His order was endorsed by Pope Innocent III in 1210. He then founded the Order of Poor Clares, which was an enclosed order for women, as well as the Third Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance.
In 1223, Francis arranged for the first Christmas manger scene.
In 1224, he received the stigmata, making him the first recorded person to bear the wounds of Christ's Passion.
He died in 1226 while preaching Psalm 141.
On July 16, 1228, he was pronounced a saint by Pope Gregory IX.
He is known as the patron saint of animals, the environment and one of the two patrons of Italy (with Catherine of Siena).
It is customary for Catholic and Anglican churches to hold ceremonies blessing animals on his feast day of 4 October.