The Peace Prayer of St. Francis

SATB div., unaccompanied (opt. organ)

“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace” is the first line in this text, which dates from World War 1. Though we don’t know who wrote it, it has become a favorite prayer for the strength to create peace. Score and recording below.


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PROGRAM NOTES

To commemorate the first year anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the attempted attack on either the White House or the US Capitol, we in the Tri-Cities put together a program attended by over 10,000 people that focused on creating understanding and progress rather than revenge. It was a very diverse group of people, with radically different agendas, but we managed to craft a program that honored a variety of points of view and genuinely helped our community cope with the effects we all felt.

All through the planning process, this poem was running through my mind.

TEXT

What has become known as “The Peace Prayer of St. Francis” seems to have first appeared in a religious magazine, “La Clochette,” in the December, 1912 issue. I have used what appears to be the most common English translation. The translator is unknown.

According to Father Kajetan Esser, OFM, the author of the critical edition of St. Francis’s writings, the prayer is not one of the writings of St. Francis.

According to Father Schulz, Das sogennante Franziskusgebet: Forshungen zur evangelishen Gebetslitteratur (III), in Jahrbuch fur Liturgik und Hymnologie, 13 (1968), pp. 39-53, it was found written on the observe of a holy card of St. Francis, which was found in a Normal Almanac. The prayer bore no name; but in the English speaking world, on account of this holy card, it came to be called the Peace Prayer of St. Francis. More information about this prayer can be found in Friar J. Poulenc, OFM, L’inspiration moderne de la priere « Seigneur faites de moi un instrument de votre paix », Archivum Franciscanum Historicum, vol. 68 (1975) pp. 450-453.

Here is the original version:

Seigneur, faites de moi un instrument de votre paix.
Là où il y a de la haine, que je mette l’amour.
Là où il y a l’offense, que je mette le pardon.
Là où il y a la discorde, que je mette l’union.
Là où il y a l’erreur, que je mette la vérité.
Là où il y a le doute, que je mette la foi.
Là où il y a le désespoir, que je mette l’espérance.
Là où il y a les ténèbres, que je mette votre lumière.
Là où il y a la tristesse, que je mette la joie.
O Maître, que je ne cherche pas tant à être consolé qu’à consoler,
à être compris qu’à comprendre, à être aimé qu’à aimer,
car c’est en donnant qu’on reçoit,
c’est en s’oubliant qu’on trouve,
c’est en pardonnant qu’on est pardonné,
c’est en mourant qu’on ressuscite à l’éternelle vie.

 

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