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Franciscan Spirit Blog

Holy Quotes from St. Francis of Assisi

Jan 19, 2022
St. Francis of Assisi is depicted in a stained-glass display at St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

You may know St. Francis of Assisi only as the sweet saint who adorns birdbaths and whose statues proliferate in gardens all over the world. But he was much more than that. He was a rich and spoiled young man who was born in 1182 in Assisi, Italy, and died in 1226 below and outside of Assisi next to the little church of St. Mary of the Angels where he and his followers, whom he called the Lesser Brothers, lived lives of Gospel poverty and ministered to the lepers who lived nearby.

As St. Thomas More is “a man for all seasons,” St. Francis of Assisi is a man for all ages, one who became so light and airy, so free of all possessiveness and selfishness that multitudes of men and women followed in his footsteps. Even animals listened to him. In the words of Coleman Banks, St. Francis “was so empty of nervous haste and fear and aggression that the birds would light on him.” And when he died at twilight on October 4, 1226, the larks rose up to the roof of his cell and circled it with wing beat and song. 

Here are quotes from St. Francis so that we may know him better.

—Murray Bodo, OFM


Let us begin again…
 

Remember the words of our Lord,
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (Mt. 5: 44).
 

How holy and beloved, how pleasing and lowly, how peaceful, delightful, lovable and desirable above all things it is to have a Brother like this, who laid down his life for his sheep.
 

We must hate our lower nature with its vices and sins; by living a worldly life, it would deprive us of the love of our Lord Jesus Christ and of eternal life.
 

In that love which is God, I entreat all my friars, ministers and subjects, to put away every attachment, all care and solicitude, and serve, love, honor, and adore our Lord and God with a pure heart and mind.
 

We should make a dwelling-place within ourselves where he can stay, he who is the Lord God almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
 

Watch, then, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to be, and to stand before the Son of Man.
 

Lord, King of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for yourself. Of your own holy will you created all things spiritual and physical, made us in your own image and likeness, and gave us a place in paradise, through your only Son, in the Holy Spirit.
 

Call no one on earth your father; for one is your Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called masters; for one only is your Master, the Christ who is in heaven.
 

Even as thou hast sent me into the world, so I also have sent them into the world. And for them I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
 

We give you thanks because, having created us through your Son, by that holy love with which you loved us, you decreed that he should be born, true God and true man, of the glorious and ever blessed Virgin Mary and redeem us from our captivity by the blood of his passion and death.
 

We are all poor sinners and unworthy even to mention your name, and so we beg our Lord Jesus Christ, your beloved Son, in whom you are well pleased, and the Holy Spirit, to give you thanks for everything.
 

At all times and seasons, in every country and place, every day and all day, we must have a true and humble faith.
 

If we do not forgive perfectly, Lord, make us forgive perfectly, so that we may really love our enemies for love of you, and pray fervently to you for them, returning no one evil for evil, anxious only to serve everybody in you.
 

Behold I am with you even unto the consummation of the world (Mt. 28: 20). The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life (Jn 6: 64). I am the way, and the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6).
 

I pray for them; not for the world do I pray, but for those whom thou hast given me, because they are thine, and all things that are’ mine are thine.
 

I say to you, my friends: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. Take care that you do not be alarmed. By your patience you will win your souls. He who has persevered to the end will be saved.
 

We must all be on our guard against pride and empty boasting and beware of worldly or natural wisdom. A worldly spirit loves to talk a lot but do nothing, striving for the exterior signs of holiness that people can see, with no desire for true piety and interior holiness of spirit.
 

Humility, patience, perfect simplicity, and true peace of heart are all its aim, but above everything else it desires the fear of God, the divine wisdom and the divine love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
 

When we see or hear people speaking or doing evil or blaspheming God, we must say and do good, praising God, who is blessed forever.


Friar Murray Bodo, himself a poet, was attracted to St. Francis' poem/prayer the Canticle of the Creatures.

It is well for those who die repentant; they shall have a place in the kingdom of heaven.
 

Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth.
 

Holy Father, keep in thy name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one even as we are. These things I speak in the world, in order that they may have my joy made full in themselves.
 

Almighty, most high and supreme God, Father, holy and just, Lord, King of heaven and earth, we give you thanks for yourself.
 

Of your own holy will you created all things spiritual and physical, made us in your own image and likeness, and gave us a place in paradise, through your only Son, in the Holy Spirit.
 

We give you thanks because, having created us through your Son, by that holy love with which you loved us, you decreed that he should be born, true God and true man, of the glorious and ever blessed Virgin Mary and redeem us from our captivity by the blood of his passion and death.
 

We Friars Minor, servants and worthless as we are, humbly beg and implore everyone to persevere in the true faith and in a life of penance; there is no other way to be saved.
 

With all our hearts and all our souls, all our minds and all our strength, all our power and all our understanding, with every faculty and every effort, with every affection and all our emotions, with every wish and desire, we should love our Lord and God.
 

May the power of your love, O Lord, fiery and sweet as honey, wean my heart from all that is under heaven, so that I may die for love of your love, you who were so good as to die for love of my love.
 

Blessed are those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 5:10). He who has persevered to the end will be saved.
 

When I was in sin, the sight of lepers nauseated me beyond measure; but then God himself led me into their company, and I had pity on them.
 

God revealed a form of greeting to me, telling me that we should say, “God give you peace.”
 

And so it is really the Spirit of God who dwells in his faithful who receive the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord. Anyone who does not have this Spirit and presumes to receive him eats and drinks judgement to himself.
 

How long will you be dull of heart? Why do you refuse to recognize the truth and believe in the Son of God? Every day he humbles himself just as he did when he came from his heavenly throne.
 

It is the Most High himself who has told us,
This is my Body and Blood of the new covenant and He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has life everlasting.
 

We can never tell how patient or humble a person is when everything is going well with him. But when those who should cooperate with him do the exact opposite, then we can tell. A man has as much patience and humility as he has then, and no more.
 

Blessed the man who is patient with his neighbor’s shortcomings as he would like him to be if he were in a similar position himself.
 

Those who love God are happy and blessed. They do as our Lord himself tells us in the Gospel, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, . . . and thy neighbor as thyself.
 

We must love God . . . and adore him with a pure heart and mind, because this is what he seeks above all else.
 

There is one thing of which we can all boast; we can boast of our humiliations and in taking up daily the holy cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
 

All praise be yours, my Lord, through all that you have made,
And first my lord Brother Sun,
Who brings the day; and light you give to us through him.
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
 

All praise be yours, my Lord, through those who grant pardon
For love of you; through those who endure Sickness and trial.
 

Happy those who endure in peace,
By you, Most High, they will be crowned.
 

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.
 

You are holy, Lord, the only God, and your deeds are wonderful.
You are strong.
You are great.
You are the Most High,
You are almighty.


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Comments

Bill
Mon, 05/02/2022 - 08:50 AM
Bill
Has anyone heard of this prayer, allegedly by Saint Francis of Assisi: The mind does nothing but talk, ask questions and search for meaning. The heart does not talk, it does not ask questions, it does not search for meanings, it silently moves towards God and surrenders itself to Him. The mind is Satan's lawyer, The Heart is Gods Servant.

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