THE BLOG
03/14/2013 11:41 am ET Updated May 14, 2013

What the Choice of Francis Means

The new pope has chosen the name "Francis." Francis (1180-1225) was a rich young man who lived out a quite dissolute youth, before God finally caught up to him and seized his heart. Francis chose a life of poverty and prayer. He is one of the two most loved saints in the Catholic world today. For his simplicity, his poverty, and his love and joy in God's world.

The following is a prayer -- his prayer, the tradition says -- that helps to explain what the choice of the name Francis means:

THE PRAYER OF ST. FRANCIS

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace, that where there is hatred, I may bring love; that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness; that where there is discord, I may bring harmony; that where there is error, I may bring truth; that where there is doubt, I may bring faith; that where there is despair, I may bring hope; that where there are shadows, I may bring light; that where there is sadness, I may bring joy.

Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort than to be comforted; to understand, than to be understood; to love, than to be loved.

For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.

It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.

It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.