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Vespers for the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi[i]




Vir Dei Franciscus reliquit domum suam, dimisit hereditatem suam, inops et pauper factus est; Dominus autem assumpsit eum.

Francis, the man of God, left his home behind, abandoned his inheritance and became poor and penniless,
but the Lord raised him up.



Deus, qui beato Francisco paupertate et humilitate Christo configurari tribuisti, concede, ut, per illius semitas gradientes, Filium tuum sequi et tibi coniungi laeta valeamus caritate.
O God, by whose gift Saint Francis
was conformed to Christ in poverty and humility,
grant that, by walking in Francis’ footsteps,
we may follow your Son,
and, through joyful charity,
come to be united with you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


READING          Galatians 6:14-18

Brothers and sisters:
May I never boast except in the cross
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
through which the world has been crucified to me,
and I to the world.
For neither does circumcision mean anything,
nor does uncircumcision,
but only a new creation.
Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule
and to the Israel of God.

From now on, let no one make troubles for me;
for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit,
brothers and sisters. Amen.


PSALM           16:1b-2a and 5,7-8,11
Tu es, Domine, pars hereditatis meae.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.. I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.

You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
You are my inheritance, O Lord.


ALLELUIA          Cf. Mt 11:25

Benedictus es, Pater, Domine caeli et terrae, quia mysteria regni parvulis revelasti.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.


READING           Matthew 11:25-30
At that time Jesus exclaimed,
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to little ones.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened,
and I will give you rest.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am meek and humble of heart;
and you will find rest for your selves.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”


Hymn:  Ne caelésti collégio

St. Francis shines in glorious light
among the heav’nly college bright,
for by a grace of special kind
Christ’s marks are on St. Francis signed.

He lived with friends in poverty,
an apostolic company,
and bears the cross that signals peace,
the covenant that shall not cease.

A martyr by desire, he bears
the cross of Christ, whose sign he wears,
so in the heav’ns Christ makes him be
one with the martyr’s company.

He always bore the cross of Christ.
Through abstinence he sacrificed.
So with confessors now he reigns
and with them their reward he gains.

In gleaming robes as white as snow
he follows where Christ’s footsteps go,
and joys in chastity’s great prize
in angel choirs above the skies.

O Father, Son, and Spirit, by
The wounds of Francis purify
Your servants who these gifts implore
Forever and forevermore.


A letter from St Francis of Assisi to all the faithful
(Opuscula, edit. Quaracchi 1949, 87-94)

We must be simple, humble and pure

It was through his archangel, Saint Gabriel, that the Father above made known to the holy and glorious Virgin Mary that the worthy, holy and glorious Word of the Father would come from heaven and take from her womb the real flesh of our human frailty. Though he was wealthy beyond reckoning, he still willingly chose to be poor with his blessed mother. And shortly before his passion he celebrated the Passover with his disciples. Then he prayed to his Father saying: “Father, if it be possible, let this cup be taken from me.”

Nevertheless, he reposed his will in the will of his Father. The Father willed that his blessed and glorious Son, whom he gave to us and who was born for us, should through his own blood offer himself as a sacrificial victim on the altar of the cross. This was to be done not for himself through whom all things were made, but for our sins. It was intended to leave us an example of how to follow in his footsteps. And he desires all of us to be saved through him, and to receive him with pure heart and chaste body.

O how happy and blessed are those who love the Lord and do as the Lord himself said in the gospel: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole soul; and your neighbour as yourself.” Therefore, let us love God and adore him with pure heart and mind. This is his particular desire when he says: “True worshippers adore the Father in spirit and truth.” For all who adore him must do so in the spirit of truth. Let us also direct to him our praises and prayers saying: “Our Father, who art in heaven,” since “we must always pray and never grow slack.”

Furthermore, let us produce worthy fruits of penance. Let us also love our neighbours as ourselves. Let us have charity and humility. Let us give alms because these cleanse our souls from the stains of sin. We lose all the material things we leave behind in this world, but carry with us the reward of their charity and the alms they give. For these they will receive from the our the reward and recompense we deserve.

We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather we must be simple, humble and pure. We should never desire to be over others. Instead, we ought to be servants who are submissive to every human being for God’s sake. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on all who live in this way and persevere in it to the end. He will permanently dwell in them. They will be the Father’s children who do his work.

They are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ.

RESPONSORY           Matthew 5:3-4,6

Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.
– Blessed are those of gentle spirit;
they shall inherit the land.

Blessed are you who hunger now;
you shall be satisfied.
– Blessed are those of gentle spirit;
they shall inherit the land.


O God, by whose gift Saint Francis
was conformed to Christ in poverty and humility,
grant that, by walking in Francis’ footsteps,
we may follow your Son,
and, through joyful charity,
come to be united with you.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.


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[i] Source: The English translation of Psalm Responses, Alleluia Verses, Gospel Verses from Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL); the English translation of Antiphons, Invitatories, Responsories, Intercessions, Psalm 95, the Canticle of the Lamb, Psalm Prayers, Non-Biblical Readings from The Liturgy of the Hours © 1973, 1974, 1975, ICEL; excerpts from the English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, ICEL. All rights reserved. This service is adapted for Episcopal Church use. Used with permission.