Francis’ Oldest Prayer

The oldest writing of St. Francis is probably his “Prayer before the Crucifix,” which dates to 1205 or 1206—very early in his conversion process. In this short prayer, after Francis asks God to enlighten the darkness of his heart, he requests “true faith, certain hope, and perfect charity,...

Francis the Writer

Many people are surprised to hear that St. Francis of Assisi left behind a fair body of writing—55 texts in the excellent volume Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, Vol. 1, The Saint, edited by Regis Armstrong, OFM Cap., Wayne Hellman, OFM Conv., and William Short, OFM. Francis had enough formal education...

A Living Church

The Friars Minor staff 50 shrines in Israel, the Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Egypt. They staff or help sponsor 16 schools with approximately 10,000 students of various religions. Friar parishes are in Akko, Beit Hanina, Bethany, Bethlehem, Cana, Jaffa, Jericho, Jerusalem (St....

Giving Thanks

Sometimes I use Preface 40 in the Roman Missal. I especially like the way it addresses God and says, “Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to your greatness, but makes us grow in your grace….” Although nothing we say or do can ever increase God’s greatness, don’t we become different people...

Our Language Matters

The recently concluded Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, preparing for next October’s Ordinary Synod on the same topic, reminds me of something that noted Jesuit historian Father John W. O’Malley has written about Vatican II. One of its greatest accomplishments was using a new type of...

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