Franciscan Prayers

St. Francis is known as the man who was most like Christ, “the first after the only one”, the universal brother, a man of peace and reconciliation, the Poverello, the lover of the poor, the troubadour of creation. It is true. Francis of Assisi, however, was first and foremost a mystic, a real contemplative, enamoured with the poor and crucified Christ. Francis was not only a man who prayed, but, as his biographer Thomas of Celano says, he was “a man become prayer”. The presence of God transfigured him until He made him “another Christ”.

THE FRANCISCAN CROWN

The Franciscan Crown has variously been called the Franciscan Rosary, the Seraphic Rosary or the Rosary of the Seven Joys of Our Lady. The Franciscan historian, Father Luke Wadding (1588-1657) dates the origin of the Franciscan Crown to the year 1422.

In 1442 an apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary took place in Assisi, to a Franciscan novice named James. As a child, he had the custom of offering daily the Virgin Mary a crown of roses. When he entered the Friars Minor, he became distressed that he would no longer be able to offer this gift.

The Blessed Virgin appeared to him to give him comfort and showed him another daily offering that he might do:
to pray every day seven decades of Hail Marys, meditating between each decade on one of the seven joys that she had experienced in her life. Friar James began this devotion, but one day the Director of Novices saw him praying and an angel with him who was weaving a crown of roses, placing a lily of gold between each of the ten roses. When the novice had finished praying, the angel placed the crown upon him. The Director asked Friar James what this vision meant. After hearing the explanation, he told the other friars and soon this devotion spread throughout the Franciscan family.

 

The “Seven Joys” is a devotion that recalls seven joyful episodes in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the Annunciation,
the Visitation,
the Nativity of Jesus,
the Adoration of the Magi,
the Finding in the Temple,
the Resurrection of Jesus,
and finally, either or both the Assumption of Mary and the Coronation of the Virgin.

The practice originated among the Franciscans in 15th-century Italy. The themes resemble the 12th-century Gaudes, Latin praises that ask Mary to rejoice because God has favored her in various ways.

Among the Friars Minor, the promotion of this devotion is attributed to St. Bonaventure, Bl. Cherubin of Spoleto, St. John Capistran, Pelbart of Temesvár, and St. Bernadine of Siena to mention a few. St. Bernadine is also said to have had a vision of the Virgin Mary when he was meditating on the seven joys of Mary.

NOVENA TO ST. CLARE OF ASSISI

Let us begin, In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we praise your Holy Name and the wonders of grace you worked in your servant, St. Clare. Through her powerful intercession, grant us the favors we ask in this Novena, above all the grace to live and die as she did in your most holy love. Amen.

INSERT PRAYER FOR THE DAY (See below)

Include your personal petitions here.

Pray for us, St. Clare That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

We pray You, Lord, grant us your servants who celebrate the Feast of St. Clare, your Virgin, by her intercession, to be partakers of the joys of heaven and the coheirs with your only begotten Son, who being God, lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

O glorious St. Clare! God has given you the power of working miracles continually, and the favor of answering prayer of those who invoke your assistance in misfortune, anxiety and distress; we beseech you, to obtain for us from Jesus, through Mary, His Blessed Mother, what we beg of you so fervently and hopefully, if it be for the greater honor of God and for the good of our souls. Amen.

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Day 1

O Seraphic St. Clare, first disciple of the Poor Man of Assisi, who last abandoned all riches and honors for a life of sacrifice and highest poverty, obtain from God for us the grace we may ask of always submitting to the Divine Will and of living confidently in the providence of our Heavenly Father.

Day 2

O Seraphic St. Clare, who has not forgotten the poor and afflicted, but has become a mother to them, sacrificing for them your riches and working for them innumerable miracles; obtain from God for us the grace we implore, Christian charity towards others in all their spiritual and temporal needs.

Day 3

O Seraphic St. Clare, light of your country, who has delivered Italy from barbarous invaders; obtain from God for us the grace we implore of overcoming all against faith and morals, thus preserving in our families true Christian peace with a holy fear of God and a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.

Day 4

Blessed St. Clare, whose very name means light, illumine the darkness of our minds and hearts so that we may see what God wishes us to do, and perform it with a willing and joyful heart. Before your birth, a Heavenly voice foretold that you would be a light illuminating the world. Be a light to us in the sorrows and anxieties of this earthly life, and lead us into the eternal light of our home in heaven. Amen.

Day 5

Seraphic St. Clare, whose virginal heart was great enough to love the whole world, take our petitions into your pure hands and present them to God. Pray for us that we may one day enter joyously before the throne of God. Let the light of your perfect purity consume the shadows of sin and corruption that darken the world. Intercede by your innocence for our youth. Safeguard the peace of our homes and the unity of our family. Plead with your chaste love for all in peril. Amen.

Day 6

Generous St. Clare, who left wealth and pleasure and all earthly goods to become the first spiritual daughter of St. Francis and to serve God in the cloister, help us to commit our lives to God without limit or measure, so that He may live in us and shine forth from us to all those whose lives touch ours. You who loved souls so much as to make your life a continual sacrifice for them, obtain for us the graces we now implore and win for us the strength to praise God in suffering as well as in joy. Amen.

Day 7

Faithful St. Clare, loyal daughter of the Church, friend and confidante of popes, intercede for the holy Church, look graciously from heaven on our Holy Father the Pope. Enlighten us to remove from our souls all that hinders the progress of the Church on Earth. Grant that we may share your great love for the Church of God and spread His kingdom on earth by a holy life. You who worked miracles in the presence of the pope on earth, obtain for us the graces we need now that you stand in the presence of the most High God in heaven. Amen.

Day 8

Valiant St. Clare, who fearlessly stood alone against the barbarous Saracens, trusting in the Blessed Sacrament as your only protection, enkindle in us a tender love for Jesus Christ; help us lead Eucharistic lives. You who saved your city of Assisi from plunder and ruin, protect our city and archdiocese, plead for our loved country and the suffering world. A voice from the Sacred Heart rewarded your trust with a promise: “I will always take care of you.” Glorious St. Clare, from your high place in heaven, take care of us now in our earthly needs and guide us by your light to heaven. Amen.

Day 9

Gracious St. Clare, who fulfilled your womanhood by a life of love in prayer and penance, help us to fulfill our destiny that we may one day greet you in heaven. You who were consoled at your death by a vision of Christ and His Mother, obtain for us the grace that we may die under the special protection of God and enter into the light and bliss you now enjoy. Have pity on us who struggle, on us who mourn, and win for us the favors of God, so that after this life, we may come home to Him who lives and reigns forever and ever. Amen.

NOVENA TO ST. ANTHONY OF PADUA

PRAY ALONG WITH BR. GENE MAYER, OFM

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Miraculous Responsory in Honor of St. Anthony composed by St. Bonaventure

If you ask for miracles,
Death, error, all calamities,
The leprosy and demons fly,
And health succeeds infirmities.

The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs you do restore;
While treasures lost are found again,
When young and old your aid implore.

All dangers vanish at your prayer,
And direst needs do quickly flee,
Let those who know your power proclaim—
Let Paduans say—these are of you.

The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs you do restore;
While treasures lost are found again,
When young and old your aid implore.

To Father, Son may glory be,
And Holy Spirit eternally.

The sea obeys and fetters break,
And lifeless limbs you do restore;
While treasures lost are found again,
When young and old your aid implore.

Lord, King of heaven and earth,
You created every spiritual and corporeal being.
– We thank you for yourself.

Lord, you willed that Jesus redeem us
by the blood of his suffering and death.
– We thank you for redemption.

Lord, your Son will come again.
– We thank you for the second coming.

Pray for us, blessed Anthony,
– That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Father,
– you are glorified in your servant, St. Anthony.
His glory is the crowning of your gifts.
In his life on earth you give us an example.
In our communion with him you give us his friendship.
In his prayer for the Church
you give us strength and protection.
We praise and thank you, Lord.
Through Jesus Christ, your Son.
Amen.

In our prayer to St. Anthony we turn to him for the following petitions.

You manifest your presence, person and power
in your saints, O Lord.
– May we be united with you by imitating them.

Lord Jesus, you are present among those who gather
in your name.
– Hear our prayer, as we honor you in your servant, St. Anthony.

Through St. Anthony you have manifested your love and kindness towards all.
– Show this continuing love and kindness to your friends and benefactors, and to those who join with us in these prayers.

Lord Jesus, you always had a special affection for the disadvantaged.
– Console and comfort the sick, the poor and the sinner, the dying and the forgotten.

Include your personal petitions.

Let us pray as Jesus taught us.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name;
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Father,
You gave St. Anthony the wisdom and grace
to live and preach the Gospel of Christ.
Help us to live the Gospel life as he did.
Fill our hearts with your love,
that we may pursue unselfishly
a sincere love of God and neighbor.
May we be sensitive to your call
and faithful to our baptismal promises.
May we imitate the life and work of St. Anthony,
and create a new world
where the love of Jesus will be the rule
and not the exception.
We make our prayer through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

BLESSING OF ANIMALS
It is a Franciscan tradition to bless pets on or near the Feast of St. Francis

A Pet Blessing Prayer

Blessed are you, Lord God,
Maker of all living creatures.
On the fifth and sixth days of creation,
you called forth fish in the sea,
birds in the air and animals on the land.
You inspired St. Francis to call all animals
his brothers and sisters.
We ask you to bless these animals gathered about us.
By the power of your love,
enable these creatures—our sisters and brothers—to
live according to your plan.
May we always praise you for your beauty in creation.
Blessed are you, Lord our God, in all your creatures!
Amen.

by Friar Jack Wintz, OFM

THE PEACE PRAYER
The well-known and well-loved, Peace Prayer cannot be placed among the authentic writings of St. Francis of Assisi but it embodies his spirit and teachings.

Peace Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your 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;
And where there is sadness, joy;

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,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

PRAYER BEFORE THE CRUCIFIX AT SAN DAMIANO

Walking by the San Damiano church that was abandoned and almost in ruins, Francis was led by the Spirit to pray before the crucifix. The image of Christ spoke to him, “Francis, go rebuild My house; as you see, it is all being destroyed.” He literally followed this command by buying stones and mortar to rebuild the church and came to realize his mission to rebuild his inner life and that of the Church worldwide.

The Prayer before the Crucifix at San Damiano

Most High, glorious God,
enlighten the darkness of my heart
and give me true faith, certain hope and perfect charity,
sense and knowledge, Lord,
that I may carry out Your holy and true command.

CANTICLE OF CREATURES

St. Francis enjoyed a close relationship with God’s Creation.

The Canticle of Creatures

Most High, all-powerful, good Lord,
Yours are the praises, the glory, and the honour and all blessing.
To You alone, Most High, do they belong
and no human is worthy to mention Your name.

Praised be you, my Lord, with all Your creatures,
especially Sir Brother Sun,
who is the day, and through whom You give us light.
And he is beautiful and radiant with great splendour;
and bears a likeness of You, Most High one.

Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars,
in heaven You formed them clear and precious and beautiful.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Brother Wind,
And through the air, cloudy and serene, and every kind of weather,
Through whom You give sustenance to Your creatures.
Praised be You, my Lord, through Sister water,
who is very useful and humble and precious and chaste.
Praised be You, my lord, through Brother fire,
through whom You light the night,
and he is beautiful and playful and robust and strong.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth,
who sustains and governs us,
and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs.

Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for Your love,
and bear infirmity and tribulation.
Blessed those who endure in peace,
for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.

Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death,
from whom no one living can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will,
for the second death shall do them no harm.

Praise and bless my Lord and give Him thanks
and serve Him with great humility.

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