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Leigh's Spiritual Garden: Live the Prayer of St. Francis

By Leigh Moran

Oh God, my heart is ready to praise you! I will sing and rejoice before you." Psalms 107:42


Many years ago, I taught 6th grade in a Catholic School in Wisconsin. The years I taught there were very fulfilling, however, needless to say, I was a different kind of teacher, as I am a "different" kind of person. I did a lot of fun things with the children and focused a lot on God and the Holy Family. Fortunately, I had a self-contained classroom and taught every subject in the 6th grade except religion. God guided me in sharing my creativity with the children.

(On a side note, I was so pleased to see, on facebook, when one of my students wrote I was her favorite teacher and the inspiration for her to become a teacher, another blessing for me from God)

There always appeared, for me, a way to reach the children through the Love of God. I was so fortunate to have a lovely and large classroom that I utilized it to bring God's love into that room. We had a fenced-in area, the children made the fence, we had nature, a birdbath, and we had beautiful classical music playing during art classes on Friday afternoon. When the children were done with their assignments, they could go to the "garden" and read their library books.

Everyday I wrote a poem, I had written or a classic, on the board and my students copied that poem and when I approved their handwriting, they went on to illustrate what they "saw" in that particular poem. The children also were invited to write a poem on the board for others to copy if they chose to do so. At the end of the year the children had a lovely book of poetry and a fine appreciation for good cursive and art.

So, the children and I praised God by singing and rejoicing in the gifts He gave to each of us in that classroom, Praise God!

I was not allowed to teach religion so when the hour for religious studies came, I went to the 5th grade room and taught English while a Sister came to my room and taught religion. To me, there is an advantage of having "God" in the classroom; too bad things have changed so dramatically today. I cannot say about the Catholic schools, however, I do know about the secular educational system and it grieves me.

Since that time in my life, being a substitute teacher, for awhile, was an experience I gave up, I am so happy I grew up in a different time and my children still experienced some of what I did.

Going back to my years of teaching in the Catholic School, once a month a class prepared and participated in the Mass during the day. The school celebrated Mass twice a week and I did always feel a bit pressured, as I was the only non-Catholic teacher "on board."

The children and I would talk about what we wanted to do for our Mass and things generally worked out quite well. I required the girls to wear a dress and the boys a tie, I even furnished the ties if a boy did not have one. On a side note, when my kids were dressed up a bit, they behaved better. Hmmm, lesson for today in secular schools.

Getting back to the reason I am telling this story is that one of my favorite songs is "The Prayer of St. Francis," and the children liked it as well, so we chose to sing that song a lot! The song has such a soft gentle flow you can almost imagine yourself sitting with St. Francis as he gathered with others of like kind, loving people and nature.

St. Francis was from a wealthy family and his father thought he was mad when he saw St. Francis embrace a leper, giving him alms. St. Francis started to visit the poor and sick. St. Francis prayed and listened to God as God directed his life. A lesson for all of us to learn!

Please read the following and try to follow this plan for your life, thinking of St. Francis as you do. Try to live humbly, giving freely, and possessing neither silver nor gold, seeking only God as your Master (Father).

"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;

And 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.

St. Francis

Travel your path in love, pardon, faith, hope, light and joy!

In Jesus name I pray this prayer.

Love and
I remain His humble servant,

Copyright Leigh Moran


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