Friday, March 30, 2012

The Prayer of St. Francis: a series

Every morning the Daily Office provided by Mission St. Clare includes the Prayer of St. Francis.  It's a beautiful prayer, but alas it appears St. Francis of Assisi, a 13th century saint, didn't say or write it, according to Wikipedia. It first appeared in France in 1912.

It is, however, a beautiful prayer and a summation of how we should live the Christian life. So I decided to write a series of meditations on it and when I figured out it was 14 lines, have asked some friends and bloggers I admire to chip in and write about a particular line.

My co-writers include: my friends Helena and Lory (who don't blog), Sarah of Whispers on a Journey, St. Henry, Christianne Squires, and Joseph Pote of Redeemed!.

Here is the prayer:
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let us 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 we 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.

A Meditation on the First Line

"Lord, make us instruments of your peace."

I have been thinking a lot lately about how God works in our lives. Does God still work the way he did in the Old Testament? I haven't seen any pillars of fire or burning bushes lately, have you?


I think since the Holy Spirit was gifted to the disciples at Pentacost -- a gift that gets passed on through baptism for those in the Christian faith -- God now works through us.


If we but listen. If we but stop to take heed of the Holy Spirit within us. When our greed, when our apathy, when our entitlement, gets in the way, we don't hear. That's why we need to pray this prayer. 


To remember. 



The hymn by Stephen Temple begins: "Make us a channel of your peace." God acts through us, with our consent.


We are the agents of change in this world. God created humankind to be stewards of creation -- and that means of each other too. Something we epically fail at throughout the ages and today.


So it makes perfect sense that we should ask God within, God the Holy Spirit, to make us instruments of His peace. Because we cannot do it alone. We need God's help.


And what does His peace mean? It's all the ways listed throughout the rest of the prayer. 


It is love.


(To read other posts in the Prayer of St. Francis series, click here.)

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