Franciscan Lenten Prayers


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St. Francis searched for a deep understanding and union with God. As a young man, several events changed his heart and focus from a materialistic, rowdy way of living.

One day, as he was passing by the church of San Damiano (see photos), he was led to pray in front of the large image of the Crucified Christ. He heard Christ calling him: "Francis, go rebuild My house; as you see, it is all being destroyed." It was a conversion moment that led Francis on a lifelong journey, seeking always to identify himself with the Crucified Jesus.

Francis spent much of his time in solitude. He especially loved to spend time away during Lent, setting aside 40 days for prayer and penance, which is why Lent is a significant part of the Franciscan way of life.

The San Damiano Cross (below) is a magnificent icon which hangs now in the Basilica of St. Clare in Assisi (photos). To this day, people kneel before that icon and pray Francis' very words.

Prayer Before the San Damiano Crucifix

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.

(Printable, wallet version)

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