The Writings of St. Francis of Assisi, tr. by Paschal Robinson, , at sacred-texts.com
p. 134 p. 135
THIS opuscule is composed of two parts: a paraphrase of the Lord's Prayer and the Praises properly so-called. It is contained in all the early MS. collections of St. Francis’ works 1 either in its entirety as it is given here, or in part—that is, the Paraphrase without the Praises or vice versa. With the exception of a single codex which attributes the paternity of this paraphrase to the Blessed Brother Giles, 2 the third companion of St. Francis, the MSS. authorities are unanimous in ascribing the entire work to St. Francis. This fact, taken in conjunction with the internal argument in its favor, puts the authority of the Praises beyond doubt, in the opinion of the Quaracchi editors. M. Sabatier is of like mind and even expresses regret 3 that Professor Boehmer 4 should have been
misled into classing the Praises as doubtful or unauthentic. Those who accept the French critic's views as to the value of his Speculum Perfectionis will find in that remarkable work an additional argument in favor of the genuinity of the complete opuscule now engaging our attention. In particular M. Sabatier applies to the present Praises what is said in the Speculum of the penance imposed by St. Francis on the brothers at Portiuncula for speaking idle words. 1
The Quaracchi Fathers have edited the text of the Praises according to the Assisian, Antonian, and Isidorean (1/25) MSS. and have collated these early versions with the editions of the Praises given in the Monumenta (fol. 275 v), Firmamenta (fol. 18 v), and the Liber Conformitatum (fruct. xii, P. II, c. vi). 2 The result of their labors is here translated as follows:—
Here are begun the Praises which the most blessed Father Francis composed; and he said them at all the Hours of the day and night and before the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, beginning thus: "Our Father, most holy, who art in heaven," etc., with "Glory be to the Father." Then the Praises, Holy, Holy, etc., are to be said. 1
Our Father, most holy, our Creator, Redeemer, and Comforter.
Who art in heaven, in the angels and in the saints illuminating them unto knowledge, for Thou, O Lord, art light; inflaming them unto love, for Thou, O Lord, art Love; dwelling in them and filling them with blessedness, for Thou, O Lord, art the highest Good, the eternal Good from whom is all good and without whom is no good.
Hallowed be Thy Name: may Thy knowledge shine in us that we may know the breadth of Thy benefits, the length of Thy promises, the height of Thy majesty, and the depth of Thy judgments. 2
Thy Kingdom come, that Thou mayest reign in us by grace and mayest make us come to Thy Kingdom, where there is the clear vision of Thee,
the perfect love of Thee, the blessed company of Thee, the eternal enjoyment of Thee.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, that we may love Thee with the whole heart by always thinking of Thee; with the whole soul by always desiring Thee; with the whole mind by directing all our intentions to Thee and seeking Thy honor in all things and with all our strength, by spending all the powers and senses of body and soul in the service of Thy love and not in anything else; and that we may love our neighbors even as ourselves, drawing to the best of our power all to Thy love; rejoicing in the good of others as in our own and compassionating [them] in troubles and giving offence to no one.
Give us this day, through memory and understanding and reverence for the love which He had for us and for those things which He said, did, and suffered, for us,—our daily bread, Thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.
And forgive us our trespasses, by Thy ineffable mercy in virtue of the Passion of Thy Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the merits and intercession of the most Blessed Virgin Mary and of all Thy elect.
As we forgive their that trespass against us, and what we do not fully forgive, do Thou, O Lord, make us fully forgive, that for Thy sake we may truly love our enemies and devoutly intercede for them with Thee; that we may render no evil for evil, but in Thee may strive to do good to all.
And lead us not into temptation, hidden or visible, sudden or continuous.
But deliver us from evil, past, present, and to come. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, etc.
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was and who is to come. 1 Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever. 2
Worthy art Thou, O Lord, our God, to receive praise, glory and honor, and benediction. 3 Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
The Lamb that was slain is worthy to receive power and divinity and wisdom and strength and honor and benediction. 4 Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
Let us bless the Father and the Son with the Holy Ghost. Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
All ye works of the Lord, bless ye the Lord. 5 Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
Give praise to God all ye His servants and you that fear Him, little and great. 6 Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
Let the heavens and the earth praise Him, the Glorious, and every creature which is in heaven and on earth and under the earth, in the seas and all that are in them. 7 Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen. Let us praise and exalt Him above all forever.
Almighty, most holy, most high, and supreme God, highest good, all good, wholly good, who alone art good. To Thee we render all praise, all glory, all thanks, all honor, all blessing, and we shall always refer all good to Thee. Amen.
137:1 It is found in the Assisi MS. 338 and in the compilation beginning Fac secundum exemplar contained in the Berlin, Lemberg, Liegnitz MSS. and the Vatican codex 4354, as well as in the other family of MSS. represented by the Ognissanti and Foligno MSS. and the codices of St. Isidore's (1/25) and the Vatican 7650.
137:2 A fourteenth century codex at St. Isidore's Rome (MS. 1/73, fol. 10 v). But I have not found it in any of the collections of Brother Giles’ Dicta which I have had occasion to consult in preparing the new English version of the same I hope soon to publish.
137:3 See Opuscules, fasc. x, pp. 136-537. As a postscript to his Examen M. Sabatier gives the text of the paraphrase of the Our Father after the rare edition of the Speculum (Morin).
137:4 See Analekten, p. 75.
138:1 "He also ordained and ordered it to be strictly observed that any friar who either when doing nothing or at work with the others, uttered idle words, shall say one Our Father, praising God at the beginning and end of the prayer; and if conscious of his fault he accuse himself, he shall say the one Our Father and the Praises of the Lord for his own soul. . . . And if on reliable testimony he is shown to have used idle words, he shall repeat the Praises of the Lord at the beginning and at the end aloud so as to be heard and understood by the surrounding friars," etc. Further on we read: "The Praises of the Lord the most Blessed Father always said himself, and with ardent desire taught and impressed upon the friars that they should carefully and devotedly say the same." See Spec. Perf. (ed. Sabatier), c. 82. I have quoted this passage from Lady de la Warr's translation, pp. 121-122. See also Opuscules, fasc. x, p. 137, where M. Sabatier, speaking of the relation of the Speculum to the Praises, says: "Les deux documents se correspondent, se corroborent et se garantissent l’un l’autre."
138:2 The Conformities, edition of 1510, gives the complete text as the handiwork of St. Francis.
139:1 Such is the rubric which precedes the Praises in the Assisian MS.
139:2 See Eph. 3: 18.
141:1 See Apoc. 4: 8.
141:2 See Dan. 3: 57.
141:3 See Apoc. 4: 11.
141:4 See Apoc. 5: 12.
141:5 See Dan. 3: 57.
141:6 See Apoc. 19: 5.
141:7 See Apoc. 5: 13.