The Praises of God

by Francis of Assisi

English version by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM CAP & Ignatius C. Brady, OFM
Original Language Italian

You are holy, Lord, the only God, You do wonders.
You are strong, You are great, You are the most high,
You are the almighty King.
You, Holy Father, the King of heaven and earth.
You are Three and One, Lord God of gods;
You are good, all good, the highest good,
Lord, God, living and true.
You are love, charity.
You are wisdom; You are humility; You are patience;
You are beauty; You are meekness; You are security;
You are inner peace; You are joy; You are our hope and joy;
You are justice; You are moderation, You are all our riches.
You are beauty, You are meekness;
You are the protector,
You are the guardian and defender;
You are strength; You are refreshment.
You are our hope, You are our faith, You are our charity,
You are all our sweetness,
You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord,
God almighty, Merciful Savior.

-- from Francis and Clare: The Complete Works: The Classics of Western Spirituality, Translated by Regis J. Armstrong, OFM CAP / Translated by Ignatius C. Brady, OFM

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This prayer-poem by St. Francis might seem a little formally religious for some tastes, but it has a devout beauty and strength to it.

Read the poem with the recognition that these words of praise were written by St. Francis immediately after receiving the stigmata during his meditations at Mount LaVerna in September 1224. (In fact, the original document, written in Francis's own hand, is still preserved in Assisi.)

The repetition of the attributes of God takes on a driving rhythm, shamanic in its effect, with the potential to awaken sacred trance. This is a poem not meant to be read once, but to be chanted, over and over, until ecstasy takes over.

The words are simple but can swallow you whole.



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The Praises of God