O 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…
From the Prayer of St. Francis
Words of Hope
The prayer of St. Francis would be more accurately defined as the Prayer in the Spirit of St. Francis, since it was not written by the Saint himself, but first appeared under the title of the Prayer for Peace in 1912 in France, in a spiritual magazine called La Clochette (The Little Bell). After years of translations and re-publications, it was first attributed to St. Francis in 1927, by a French Protestant group called “The Knights of the Prince of Peace”. During and after the Second World War, the prayer for peace had become universally accepted as the Prayer of St. Francis.
Regardless of who might have written it, the prayer speaks to us loudly and clearly in this generation of discord. The author’s first concern is about the lack of tolerance and unity in the world: “Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union”.
Let’s modify these words to make the message more personal: “When I find hatred, let me show your love; when I am hurt or maligned, let me forgive; when I find those around me in conflict, let me help them find a just resolution.” In these words, each of us finds a way we can use God’s loving peace to create good out of a bad situation. In your daily interactions, how often do you encounter situations of hate, hurt and conflict? There’s an easy human response, and there is also the opportunity for you to share God’s peace and transform the destructive effect in your life and the lives of others.
The second of these pleas asks you and me to always be willing to forgive others when we have been hurt by their words or actions. In essence, the act of forgiveness is making peace with the other party who maligned you. When you forgive, you are acting as a peacemaker and giving example to the forgiveness which God offers all of us. It’s a great way to mirror the love of God to others, and a great witness of your relationship with the Holy One.
O Lord, may I not only be an instrument of your peace, but also a mirror of your love. Make me a witness of your unconditional grace.
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare