St. Francis of Assisi visited the Mount La Verna (Assisi) six times for solitude: 1213, 1216, 1218, 1220, 1223 and 1224. In September 1224, he received the grace of Stigmata. It was on that last visit that he also composed The Praises of God. As this prayer indicates, he wanted to know and experience Christ completely and realized he would have to share in His Passion. Hence, he asked for the grace to know the love Christ had in His heart and experience the depth of His suffering. It was traditionally on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (September 14th), while in prayer on the mountainside, that St. Francis of Assisi had the vision of the seraph, and received the visible marks of the five wounds of Christ. Blessed Pope Benedict XI (Pope: October 22, 1303 – July 7, 1304 ~ Beatified:April 24, 1736) permitted the Franciscan Order to celebrate the Feast Day of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi on September 17th.
On the other side of the parchment he wrote his Blessing for Brother Leo. The parchment with the autographs of Francis is conserved as a relic in the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi.
The Praises of God
You are holy Lord God Who does wonderful things.
You are strong. You are great. You are the most high.
You are the almighty king. You holy Father,
King of heaven and earth.
You are three and one, the Lord God of gods;
You are the good, all good, the highest good,
Lord God living and true.
You are love, charity; You are wisdom, You are humility,
You are patience, You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are security, You are rest,
You are gladness and joy, You are our hope, You are justice,
You are moderation, You are all our riches to sufficiency.
You are beauty, You are meekness,
You are the protector, You are our custodian and defender,
You are strength, You are refreshment. You are our hope,
You are our faith, You are our charity,
You are all our sweetness, You are our eternal life:
Great and wonderful Lord, Almighty God, Merciful Savior.
Blessing for Brother Leo
May the Lord bless you and keep you.
May He show His face to you and be merciful to you.
May He turn His countenance to you and give you peace.