Prayer of Peace - St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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.
Oh, Divine Father, 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.
A Perfect Prayer
St. Francis of Assisi wrote what may be considered the perfect prayer, one of the most selfless connections to God we can imagine. The aspirations expressed in this simple plea are idealistic and completely pure.
This is not a prayer for people of certain religious persuasions, but a mediation for all who desire peace. Secular people, non-Christians, and atheists can strive to achieve the ideal thought pattern and behavior so beautifully offered by Saint Francis.
He recognized that he and all who recite this prayer will run up against people and circumstances that will be threatening. He does not ask God to be speared the burden of hardship but to have the strength to strand strong - not against evil but for good.
Lesson Learned From a Child
In order to achieve peace, we must start the only place we can -ourselves, through rigorous self examination or somehow led back into innocence by a worthy guide.
One afternoon, sitting on the back porch with my 4 year old son on my lap, I spotted a mother mockingbird and her own little one. Mother stood to the side with a look of pride about her and watched the young bird harass some tiny creature. Binoculars revealed that it was a hermit crab. the young mocking bird ran toward the hermit crab, pecked at it, then jumped away repetitivly. the whole scene struck me as, well, cute.
My son was not amused.
"It's only a hermit crab," I said
The little child (with his curling red hair) was shocked that I'd say such a thing. He climbed down from my lap and demanded that I save the hermit crab.
"Just because you don't care doesn't make it okay to let it be killed," the wise child instructed.
Out of the mouths of babes. I'd thought I was a decent person, not unkind, even a loving person. It took a four year old to illustrate the hardness of my heart, the blotched soul that resided in a supposedly decent person.
If peace is our goal, the condemnation of the behavior of others is not enough, we need to look into our own hearts