By Bill Gaultiere
Shame is devastating. You hang your head and slump your shoulders. Your breathing becomes shallow. You go away alone. You crawl into a dark pit. You believe you’re unworthy of love. You feel bad about yourself.
The Sweet Singer of Psalms shows us that as we worship the Lord with our heart we can increasingly overcome self-condemning thoughts and shameful emotions. He says we can become radiant!
This is what Jesus told people, including many societal cast-offs, when he affirmed them: “You are the light of the world!” He urged them not to let judgment be a bushel that snuffs out their light. “Let your light shine!” He exclaimed. People around you need the warm light of God’s love to radiate from you. (Matthew 5:14-16).
No one knew the power of God’s love for healing shame better than St. Francis. He was maligned and rejected by many, including his own father, and he struggled with self-condemnation, but prayer helped him greatly.
I love St. Francis’ prayer of devotion to Christ! It helps us to radiate with delighted love for God. Finding this little-known prayer on our pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy was like discovering buried treasure!
This prayer is a healing agent for feelings of insignificance and shame. It’s a precious and powerful gift to share with others.
St. Francis’ Prayer of Devotion
Paraphrased by Bill Gaultiere
Let us love the Lord God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. Let us love Him with all our understanding, powers, and fortitude. Let us offer to Him our every effort, our every affection, our every desire, and our every emotion. For He has given to us our body and our soul, our whole life.
But by our pride and ingratitude, we have separated ourselves from our loving Creator and Father and become miserable and rotten.
Yet by His mercy to us through Christ alone, He saved us and continually does only good things for us. All grace and glory, all pardon and peace are from the Lord.
Therefore let us desire nothing else except our Creator and Savior, the one true God, the all and supreme good. Let nothing else cause us delight except the Lord who alone is holy and just, merciful and gentle, delectable and sweet.
Let nothing hinder or separate us from our precious God who is the fullness of all good. Let us in every place and every hour truly and humbly keep the Lord in our hearts. Let us always appreciate, adore, honor, and serve Him.
Praise God! Give thanks to our Creator and Savior! Magnify Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Glorify the Trinity and Unity!
The Lord is without beginning and end. His greatness is unfathomable. He alone is worthy of praise.
Most surely He is lovable, delectable, and totally desirable above all else!
Forever and ever. Amen.
(Francis and Clare: The Complete Works, published by Paulist Press in 1982, pp. 132-134. Titled and paraphrased by Bill Gaultiere.)
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