John 1:47-51

“You will see greater things than these,” Jesus tells Nathanael (v. 50). Who doesn’t want to see even greater things? The problem is that we tend to interpret “greater things” as “good things for me.” That’s not where Jesus is going. Instead, Jesus names for Nathaniel—and for us—the “greater things” of God’s kingdom, which include love, grace, forgiveness, and justice.

Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone (1182–1226 AD) saw those great things of the kingdom, not in wealth, but in relationships with others, animals, and even the earth. He was one of several children born to a prosperous silk merchant. After seeing and embracing the greater things of the kingdom in the lives of others, he walked away from his family’s wealth and societal status to become the man we now know as St. Francis of Assisi. After his conversion, Francis’ life focused on caring for the poor, for animals, and for the earth itself. His devoted life and writings have become an inspiration for many, especially his famous prayer:

“Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. 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. Amen.”

Those are the greater things. Francis’ prayer points us in their direction.


Where have you seen the greater things in your life?


Read aloud the prayer of St. Francis printed above.

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