Thank you, Father Francis, for all that you have taught me
through your life, your writings, your spiritual experience.
You teach me how to walk in the footsteps of the Son of God.
You teach me, Francis, to live before God,
with my labour, my weakness and my sin.
You teach me how to spend my life in your presence,
doing everything in memory of Christ.
You teach me to see myself as a sinner who has been forgiven,
called and dedicated to praising the Lord.
You teach me, Francis, to focus on what is essential,
to go straight to my life’s mission, to my life’s secret and unique meaning.
You teach me to let go of earthly things,
and to bind myself to the beloved Christ.
You teach me to die to myself and to my past,
and to wonder at the today that comes from God.
You teach me, Francis, the radical humility
of the one who receives everything from his creator,
and who puts his whole life in the Father’s hands.
You teach me to place all my hopes
in the One who saves me, the gentle and merciful Saviour,
and in the Spirit, who makes me cry out, “My God and my all.”
You teach me, Francis, through my brothers
to love the Son of God and his holy Mother,
to follow the example of your faithful disciples,
who lived in penitence, joy and simplicity.
You teach me to love without hoping for rest,
and with no other certainty except to serve.
You teach me, Francis, to love the little ones,
the lepers of our societies, those with no future,
the insignificant, the rejected, my brothers and my sisters in Jesus.
Teach me again true solidarity,
a strong commitment and total mercy,
towards the wounded of life and those of humble circumstances.
You teach me, Francis, the beauty of living as Church,
in the community of brothers, in affection,
with openness of heart, forgiveness, attention,
and constant seeking of the Lord’s will.
Take from my heart every fear that may reside there,
because perfect love banishes all fear and all bitterness.
You teach me, Francis, to retain and to develop
full confidence in the goodness of humanity,
because humanity is made in God’s image.
You teach me to carry the burdens of the day in hope,
to walk with joy and to find rest
only in the One who is gentle and humble of heart, the Christ.
You teach me, Francis to sing creation,
and to proclaim that heaven and earth are filled
with the Glory of God – from wide-open spaces
to the depths of the human heart.
You teach me to see the signs of his presence everywhere:
in the world, in the Church, in people,
in the mysterious events of human history.
Finally, you teach me, Francis, about a God who is near,
a God who is merciful, who is very good, and who is joy and jubilation,
gentleness and rest, a God who is Father, Saviour and Consoler.
You teach me to remember Him in my flesh,
to persevere and to die in this faith in the Lord,
He who “loved us even unto death.”
Help me also, Francis, to render love for love,
to love the author of all things, the Supreme Good,
who gave me all my body, all my soul,
all my sensitivity, all my feelings.
Help me to give him what I am
and what I do, without keeping anything for myself.
Give me, Francis, a clear vision of my daily vocation,
of what I should say and do at each moment of my life.
May I feel satisfied enough, while remaining humble,
to follow my path joyfully.
May I neither be so satisfied by this life
that I become spoiled and demanding, and forget the Lord.
Give me, Francis, some of your own grace:
to love and to savour the Gospel,
and above all to put it into practice right away.
Help me to live it in the patience and joy of Easter,
in the gentleness and simplicity of the dove,
amid the scandals and violence of the world.
Help me, Francis, to proclaim by my mouth and my life,
by my face, my heart, my hands and my feet,
the wonders of “the One who leads us
from darkness into his wondrous light.”
Give me also the respect that you yourself had for
the Holy Mysteries of the Body and Blood of Christ.
Give me, Francis, knowledge of the deep mystery
of innocent suffering, in the light of Easter.
May I feed my brothers the bread of hope,
and may I heal the sick and free the enslaved.
Help me to be a humble, devoted, zealous,
peaceful, trusting, tireless and persevering servant.
Help me, Francis, to use my days well,
and not to settle permanently in this world.
May I approach my death consciously and confidently.
May this ultimate grace also be given to me!
Help me to celebrate my death, among my brothers,
listening to the Passion of the Lord being recited
and the psalms being sung.
Thank you for all that, in Christ Jesus,
you have given me and continue to give me to understand and to accomplish,
since the day I was born, the day of my baptism,
the profession of my vows, and my apostolic ministry.
Yes, thank you, Francis, for always leading me to the risen Jesus,
who is always alive in glory and in my heart.
Pax et Bonum!
*Original poem written 1978 (my first attempt at writing – I was 17)
Copyright © 2012 David Schram All Rights Reserved