In the entrance hall of our house you’ll find a framed Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. I’ve known it by heart since I was a child and my children have learned to pray it as well. It has always seemed to me that this prayer contains the secret of holiness, and therefore the secret to happiness.
Being a saint means being an instrument of the peace of the Lord. Being a saint is forgetting our own selves, our comforts, our free time, our pleasure, our hurt feelings, our pouts and even our dreams in order to love our neighbour and to do it with intense joy.
Pope Francis has just written us a letter, a beautiful letter about everyday holiness, the kind of holiness we are called to. Have you read it yet? I took a peek at it on the Vatican website and am waiting to get hold of a hard copy so that I can underline it, earmark the pages, write notes in the margins, and generally to chew it up!
From the little I have managed to read, I’ve understood that the two Francis’s tend to agree. And no wonder, after all don’t they share the same Gospel? The secret to holiness is to console rather than be consoled, to understand rather than be understood, to love more than to be loved. It’s the law of the Beatitudes, the law of a God that gives himself up right to the end, the law of the grain of wheat that yields its fruit by dying, the law of the shepherd that prefers to save a sheep over saving himself – laws that defy all human logic but that lead to the fulness of happiness.
A few days ago Clare took the Prayer of St. Francis and set it to music. Then she sang it here at home, accompanied by her guitar and we all fell in love with the beautiful song she made. And during the Easter holiday, in the silence of our parish church, Clare recorded her song, and so now I’m delighted to be able to share it with our readers. Here it is. May this prayer be on our lips and in our hearts so that, with St. Francis, we learn the secret of holiness!. Amen.