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Franciscan Spirituality

Statute of St. Francis & bird
God’s Fool ~ St. Francis of Assisi, by sculptor Frank C. Gaylord, Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, Naperville, Illinois; commissioned by the Wood family. On one side of the pedestal are the words “Where there is sorrow, joy”; on the other side “For it is in dying that we are born to eternal life

This page is not an attempt to bring all of Franciscan spirituality into one place.  It is only an attempt to gather some of it.  Franciscan spirituality may be found throughout all the pages of this website and beyond.  See the Resources page for lists of many excellent books and other pages.  All of these are highly recommended along with the writings of Saint Francis and Saint Bonaventure.  Much can be found in the four volume set Francis of Assisi, Early Documents.

God is Good – God is Humble

God is good.  God is humble.  This is the beginning for Franciscan theology.  Saint Francis entered into the mystery of God and found these two attributes.  In humility God bends over to embrace the world in love, accepting us right where we are, dwelling in the brokenness of our own lives.  God is good, supreme good, totally good.

Four basic aspects of the Franciscan Charism are the Crib, the Cross, the Cup and Creation which are presented in the subpages to this page.  There is also a subpage on Lady Poverty.


While Francis desired to imitate Jesus as far as humanly possible [often called being Christo-centric or centered on Christ], Francis viewed Jesus as the only true way to approach the Father.  It is this ultimate relationship with the Father that compels and attracts Francis, to be loved by the Father as deeply as the Father loves the Son.  (continue reading St. Francis and His Approach to Divinity


“I was crying as I put this together. God speaks to each of us differently, and yet, I couldn’t help but feel that this is my prayer to God, my response to His being in my life. I wish I could offer Him more of myself. I have problems like everyone, and always ask for answers, and always ask why…then as Job in the Bible, I place my hand over my mouth… The question of Brother Masseo springs to mind, “Why after you, why after you, why after you, Francis does the whole world run?” So many times we have tried to discover the secret of St Francis. Many books have been written about him, many films made and yet we feel that every response given, every explanation offered, tells us only something about him but never quite succeeds in fully defining him or revealing his true identity.” Steve Silvia


A Franciscan View (click for slideshow)


Almighty God, and You my Lord Jesus Christ,
I pray you to enlighten me and to dispel the darkness of my spirit;
give me a faith that is without limit,
a hope that is ever unfailing,
and a love that is universal.
Grant, O my God, that I may really know You
and that I may be guided in all things
according to Your light and in conformity with Your will.
(St. Francis of Assisi)

Francis praying

“The journey of prayer for Franciscans is the discovery of God at the center of our lives.  We pray not to acquire a relationship with God as if acquiring something that did not previously exist.  Rather, we pray to disclose the image of God in which we are created, the God within us, that is, the one in whom we are created and in whom lies the seed of our identity.  We pray so as to discover what we already have – “the incomparable treasure hidden in the field of the world and of the human heart.”  We pray not to “ascend” to God but to “give birth to God,” to allow the image in which we are created to become visible.  We pray to bear Christ anew.  In prayer, therefore, we discover what we already have, the potential for the fullness of life, and this life is the life of Christ.”  Source:  Franciscan Prayer by Ilia Delio, OSF

“We are mothers, when we carry him in our heart and body through divine love and a pure and sincere conscience; we give birth to him through a holy life which must give light to others by example.”  Source:  Exhortation of Saint Francis to the Brothers and Sisters in Penance by Saint Francis.


Prayer Inspired by the Our Father

by Francis of Assisi

O OUR most holy FATHER,
Our Creator, Redeemer, Consoler, and Savior

In the angels and in the saints,
enlightening them to love, because You, Lord, are light,
inflaming them to love, because You, Lord, are love,
dwelling in them and filling them with happiness,
because You, Lord, are the Supreme Good,
the Eternal Good from Whom comes all good,
without Whom there is no good.

may our knowledge of You become ever clearer,
that we may know the breadth of Your blessings,
the length of Your promises,
the height of Your majesty,
the depths of Your judgments.

so that You may rule in us through Your grace,
and enable us to come to Your kingdom
where there is an unclouded vision of You
a perfect love of You,
a blessed companionship with You,
an eternal enjoyment of You;

that we may love You
with our whole heart by always thinking of You,
with our whole soul by always desiring You,
with our whole mind by directing all our
intentions to You
and by seeking Your glory in everything,
and with our whole strength
by spending all our energies and affections
of soul and body
in the service of Your love
and of nothing else,
And may we love our neighbors as ourselves
by drawing them all with our whole strength to Your love,
by rejoicing in the good fortunes of others
as well as our own,
and by sympathizing with the misfortunes of others,
and by giving offense to no one

in memory and understanding and reverence
of the love which our Lord Jesus Christ had for us,
and of those things which He said and did and suffered for us;

Your own Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ;

through Your ineffable mercy
through the power of the Passion of Your Beloved Son
together with the merits and intercession
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and all Your chosen ones

and whatever we do not forgive perfectly,
do you, Lord, enable us to forgive to the full,
so that we may truly love our enemies
and fervently intercede for them before You,
returning no one evil for evil
and striving to help everyone in You.

hidden or obvious,
sudden or persistent,

past, present and to come.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.

Michaelangelo Hands
ou are the Father’s own.


Saint Francis Writes

 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Mt.5:3). There are many people who spend all their time at their prayers and other religious exercises and mortify themselves by long fasts and so on.  But if anyone says as much as a word that implies a reflection on their self-esteem or takes something from them, they are immediately up in arms and annoyed.  These people are not really poor in spirit.  A person is really poor in spirit when he hates himself and loves those who strike him in the face (cf. Mt.5:39).  The Admonitions, XIV.


Almighty, eternal, just and merciful God,
give us miserable ones
the grace to do for You alone
what we know you want us to do
and always to desire what pleases You.
Inwardly cleansed,
interiorly enlightened
and inflamed by the fire of the Holy Spirit,
may we be able to follow
in the footprints of Your beloved Son,
our Lord Jesus Christ,
and, by Your grace alone,
may we make our way to You,
Most High,
who live and rule
in perfect Trinity and simple Unity,
and are glorified
God almighty,
forever and ever.

(St. Francis of Assisi)


I confess all my sins to the Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to the blessed ever Virgin Mary, all the saints in heaven and on earth, to Brother H., the Minister of Our Order as my venerable lord, to the priests of our Order and all my other blessed brothers.  I have offended the Lord in many ways by my serious faults especially in not observing the Rule that I promised Him and in not saying the Office as the Rule prescribes either out of negligence or by reason of my weakness or because I am ignorant and stupid.  (St. Francis of Assisi)



 Where Francis begins to differ from other saints/founders, is in his approach to Jesus. Where most seek to emulate one or more aspects of Jesus’ life, Francis becomes totally immersed in the reality of “all” of Jesus. Ultimately, the spiritual goal of a Franciscan is to struggle to become a total imitator of Jesus, to become “alter Christus” (another Christ) touching all of God’s creation as Jesus did. This is no small goal or challenge, but a path that will ask you to look deeply into how you set your life’s priorities, and how you live them out day to day.

~ Bob Fitzsimmons, OFS, “St. Francis and His Approach to Divinity” (FUN Manual)



Almighty, most holy
most high and supreme God,
all good,
supreme good,
totally good,
You Who alone are good,
may we give back to You
all praise,
all glory,
all grace,
all honor,
all blessing,
and all good.
So be it.
So be it.
Saint Francis of Assisi –


by Saint Francis

Holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty,
Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
O Lord our God, You are worthy to receive
praise, glory and honour and blessing.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
The Lamb Who was slain is worthy to receive
power and divinity, wisdom and strength,
honour and glory and blessing.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
Let us bless the Father and the Son with the Holy Spirit:
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
Sing praise to our God, all you His servants
and you who fear God, the small and the great.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
Let heaven and earth praise Him Who is glorious.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
Every creature in heaven, on earth and under the earth;
and in the sea and those which are in it.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
And let us praise and glorify Him forever.

All-powerful, most holy, most high, supreme God:
all good, supreme good, totally good, You Who alone are good,
may we give You all praise, all glory, all thanks,
all honour, all blessing, and all good. So be it! So be it!

(*Manuscripts suggest that these are biblical passages used by the brothers before each hour of the Office.  The bible passages are from Isaiah, Revelation, Deuteronomy, Psalms.)

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