St Francis of Assisi
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a perfect world.
If just one day everybody got out of bed determined to live and act as Jesus Christ requested - that we love each other as ourselves - that would make it a perfect world.
That would be pretty hard to do, but a smaller step towards that goal could be for everybody to try to pray each morning the Peace Prayer of St Francis of Assisi.
"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 darkness, Light,
And where there is sadness, Joy.
O Divine Master, 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."
Can you see how living that prayer, and inspiring your family and friends to live that prayer, could make our world such a wonderful place to live?
Francis Bernadone was born in Assisi in 1181, the son of a wealthy merchant.
At about age 25, he felt a call from God to live a life of poverty and preaching, and so he left home, and the comforts of a wealthy lifestyle and became in effect a poor beggar. His father disinherited him. Soon he began to attract others to his way of living and preaching, and in 1210 he received from Pope Innocent III approval to lead a life according to the rule of the Holy Gospel, and he and his small band of 12 men travelled all over Italy, giving good example and teaching God's ways.
By 1219 there were over 5,000 Franciscans, and St Francis established a second order through St Clare of Assisi for cloistered Nuns, and a third order for religious and laity of both sexes.
Francis never became a priest, but in 1224 he received God's blessing and stamp of approval by way of the Stigmata. He died on 3rd October 1226 and was canonised two years later by Pope Gregory IX.