Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Prayer of St. Francis: My God and My All!

Saint Francis of Assisi praying

The first follower of St. Francis of Assisi was Bernard of Quintavalle. Bernard admired Francis and felt a deep desire to follow him. But before taking his first step to become a committed follower, Bernard wanted to make sure that Francis was truly a holy and pious man.

So Bernard came up with a plan. He asked Francis if he would accept an invitation to spend the night at his home. Francis readily accepted Bernard’s invitation because he had no fixed place to live. One evening, Bernard invited Francis into his own sleeping chamber where a small light was kept burning all night.

Then Francis, to conceal his own holiness, went to bed as soon as he came into the room. He then acted as if he was asleep. After a while, Bernard did the same in his own bed. Bernard, cleverly acting as if he were sound asleep, began to snore.

What Bernard Saw

Francis, who believed that Bernard was fast asleep, arose from his bed and began to pray with his eyes and arms raised toward heaven. Then, with great devotion, Francis began to pray aloud, “My God and my all!” And thus, with Bernard watching, Francis remained praying and weeping with great fervor until morning.

Francis kept repeating, “My God and my all,” and nothing more.

When morning came, Bernard made up his mind to follow Francis. It was a determination that would never stop. With heartfelt conviction, Bernard announced to Francis: “Everything I own on this earth, I have received from my God and the Lord Jesus Christ—and now I want to give it back again, as it may seem best to you.”

God's Love Song

Francis and Bernard Seek Further Advice

Then Francis said, “What you have promised me, good Bernard, is a great and wonderful work! And both of us will ask Our Lord Jesus Christ for advice about it. And we will ask him to let us know his will. Tomorrow morning we will go the church nearby and read, in the book of Gospels, what the Lord told his disciples to do.”

So they entered the Church of St. Niccolo and prayed together. Then Francis went up to the altar and, taking the Mass book, opened it and found the following words: “If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Mt 19:21).

Then he opened the book again and found in Matthew 16:24: “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” And a third time, he found that they should take nothing “for their journey” (Mk 6:8). As Francis closed the book, he turned and said: “This is our life and rule, and—not only ours—but all those who wish to follow us. Let us go forth then, and observe all the things that we have heard.”

In was in this spirit that Bernard of Quintavalle went straight to the square of the Church of San Giorgio and began to distribute all his property to the poor.

So now both Francis and Bernard could truthfully say, “My God and my all!”


3 thoughts on “The Prayer of St. Francis: My God and My All!”

  1. Richard Fohrenbach

    The Holy Cross Brothers of Notre Dame High School in Fairfield CT introduced me to the writings of Murray Bodo and Malcom Boyd in the late sixties. Those kind priests and brothers shaped me into the liberal Christian I am today. I am very grateful . ( And my wife Linda and I have left the RC church to become happy Episcopalians – since 2005.)

    The paper back I have in front of me today by Murray Bodo is “Letters from Pleasant Street” which was about a poor section of Cincinnati! I’ll probably buy the book the article refers to -unless you want to send me a gift/review copy! :.)

    Richard Fohrenbach, Sr Chantilly VA

  2. Lord Jesus Christ, you refresh us with your presence and you sustain us with your life-giving word. Show us how to lift the burden of others, especially those who lack the basic necessities of life, and to refresh them with humble care and service. Amen.

  3. Back in my early 20s I took a course called “Jealousy, Money & Possesions” I learned in this course how much value we each have put on our possessions and our money, in fact, anything that we own, such as perhaps our girlfriends or wives, if we are to be brutally honest, is how most men feel about their significant others. None of it has anything to do with the type of love Jesus described in the Bible. The teachers of the course, a couple, explained how boys and girls are trained in how they relate to and feel about life. Girls are taught to be sensual, to feel everything about their bodies and their pleasures in life. They are taught by their Mothers to be subservient in their relationships with men, but to always use their feminine gifts/wilds to control the men and the organizations which they are responsible for. Boys are taught to be strong, to defend the girls, and to provide for their families. It is this contrast between the two sexes that is the root of our current problems in the world. There was so much more to cover, but that was the jist of it.

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