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Prayer of St. Francis

Kathy and I exchanged vows 38 years ago today. Yesterday, as we drove to Fargo ND, we talked a little about the journey. There are no guarantees in life, but, when you end up with the right person–your soul mate–it seems there is destiny involved. I vividly remember as Kathy and her Dad began walking up the aisle, I stood, and realized I was shaking from head to foot. When Bill gave Kathy’s hand to me, the shaking stopped and it felt right, as it has for all those years.

The priest who performed the ceremony told us we could choose the readings. I asked for the Prayer of St. Francis. At first, he said we could not, but later changed his mind. We have a plaque with it hanging in our bedroom. I printed a copy in Spokane and put it on the wall in my room. It has remained a constant reminder in my life that I make a difference as Kathy has in my life.

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;
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;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.

I pastori (The Shepherds)

I might have posted this lovely poem by Gabrielle D’Annunzio in September as I began school, but it speaks to me. Perhaps, I am better off to read it at other times than the beginning.

I recalled the poem, when I heard of the election of the Pope, Francis I. I thought it was a fitting name for the person who would be a shepherd. I hope he fulfills his Jesuit tradition of social justice and teaching.

When I heard the name he chose, it reminded of St. Francis of Assisi. Kathy and I used the Prayer of St. Francis as part of our wedding ceremony and hangs on our bedroom wall.

September, let’s go. It’s time to migrate.

Now in the land of Abruzzi my shepherds

leave the folds and go towards the sea:

they go down to the wild Adriatic

that is green like mountain pastures.

They’ve drunk deeply from the Alpine fonts,

so that the taste of their native water

may stay in their exiled hearts for comfort

to deceive their thirst along the way.

They’ve renewed their hazelnut sticks.

And they go along the ancient bridleway,

that is almost like a silent grassy river

in the traces of the ancient ancestors.

Oh voice of the one who first

discerns the shimmering of the sea!

Now along this coast moves the flock.

Without movement is the air.

The sun bleaches the living wool so that

it almost blends into the sand.

Swishing, stamping, sweet sounds.

Ah why am I not with my shepherds?

Transformation in Daily Life

When Kathy and I were married we chose the Prayer of St. Francis as one of our readings in the ceremony that day. It remains an integral part, albeit sometimes overlooked, part of my daily life. St. Francis spoke in a transformational voice and as a change agent of his time. His message remains as important today as it when it was first presented.

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