Should we see a wink of Providence in this, at a time when the sinister din of arms is heard in Eastern Europe? Frate Francesco, the Italian Franciscan magazine published by the Aracoeli Cultural Center, has just published, in its April 2022 issue, an unpublished prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
The recently discovered text was analyzed by Fr. Aleksander Horowski, OFM cap, specialist in medieval history at the Institute of Capuchin History.
After presenting the details of his research, the medievalist produced the text written in Latin by St. Francis himself, then concludes in these terms: “in the light of all the elements in our possession, after having studied the sources and the lexical field of the prayer, we can consider it – until proven otherwise – as being an authentic writing of Francis.”
This is in addition to an unpublished “life” of the father of the Franciscans that was found in January 2015: it was a collection barely larger than a pack of cigarettes, badly tied, ragged, without a cover. One hundred and twenty-two leaves of bad parchment, covered with tiny and partially erased Latin characters.
Soon, the writing had been authenticated and attributed to Thomas de Celano, first biographer of the Pauper of Assisi, making the discovery one of the most important of the last hundred years in the matter.
In the unpublished prayer published by Frate Francesco, we find all the spirituality of the Poverello, his fundamental intuition according to which there can be no peace here below without the worship rendered to the true and only Lord Jesus Christ. But let our saint speak:
“You, O children of men,
Praise the Lord of glory above all things,
Magnify Him and exalt Him greatly!
And glorify Him forever and ever,
That all honor and glory be given in the highest
To God, the Almighty Creator,
And may peace reign on earth for men of good will!
This peaceful King is very magnificent, He surpasses all the kings of the whole universe,
He is the Lord God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Saviour,
Our Counselor and our admirable Legislator.”
To conclude, it is helpful to recall this beautiful homage paid to the saint of Assisi by Pope Pius XII on May 5, 1940:
“The poor man of Assisi, covered with a habit embroidered with glorious tears, received from a beggar, in exchange for his ornate robes, raised, here in Rome, on the threshold of the ancient basilica of the Prince of the Apostles, the standard of poverty, all the more beautiful as it was more torn; he opened a new path to champions of holiness and virtue, to the moderators of human passions, to those conciliators of city discord, to the restorers of family and social coexistence, to the renewers of public peace and tranquility.”