It is now over 100 years since the first publication of the Peace Prayer attributed to St Francis of Assisi. It was, in fact, the French priest Esthet Auguste Bouquerel who published it in December of 1912 in the French newspaper, La Clochette. It was then published shortly afterwards in leading journals such as La Croix and The Osservatore Romano, probably at the request of Pope Benedict XV or Cardinal Gasparri.
It was during the World War I (1914-18) that the prayer grew in popularity. It was often printed on simple prayer cards, one side having an image of St Francis.
The Prayer for Peace is attributed to St Francis because it wonderfully summarizes the heart of Franciscan spirituality.
The Prayer for Peace is recited daily by many people and has been cited publicly by famous people. Mother Teresa, for example, in her acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo; Margaret Thatcher, on the day she took office as Prime Minister; Patti Smith in a song entitled, Constantine’s Dream; Bill Clinton, when in on October 4, 1995, he welcomed John Paul II in New York, on the occasion of the visit to the UN assembly.
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 despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
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. Amen.