St. Francis is well known for his love of the poor and most vulnerable of society, he also had a deep love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
In one of his Letter to the Friars, St. Francis gave the following advice that displays his passion clearly.
“Let the entire man be captured with fear; let the whole world quiver; let heaven rejoice when Christ, the Son of the Living God, is on the altar in the hands of the priest. O admirable height and astonishingly great with condescension! O humble majesty! O sublime humility! that the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that he hides under a morsel of bread for our salvation”
Whenever St.Francis caught sight of a Catholic church in the distance, St. Francis was always known to kneel down and give praise to God. Oftentimes, he would say the following words which he passed on to his friars.
“We adore you, O Lord Jesus Christ, in this church and all the churches of the world, and we bless you because by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world”. Amen
This small prayer was used by Franciscans for many centuries and over time it was made suitable to become a “standard” prayer in the popular devotion known as the Stations of the Cross. Franciscans were used as tool in the spread of this devotion throughout Europe and the United States and so it should not be a surprise that this prayer of St. Francis has become the main prayer for Stations of the Cross.
Moreover, the prayer is shortened typically to, “We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you, because, by your holy Cross you have redeemed the world”.
It is being said at the beginning of each Station and also usually prayed while genuflecting.
The next time you pray the Stations of the Cross, remember St. Francis and his burning love of Jesus