Make me an instrument of your peace… 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. -From the Prayer of St. Francis
A Word of Hope
Early in January, as many of us are making our New Year’s Resolutions, it’s a good time to reflect once more on the traditional Prayer of St. Francis, starting with the concept of Giving rather than Grabbing. The world teaches us to always “get” what we need or want; as if, everything is in such short supply that sharing or giving with others means a real deficit for us. Maybe that’s one of the great lessons from the life of Jesus. Although he wandered about without a home or source of income, he constantly gave others the most precious gifts of healing, acceptance, hope and forgiveness from their sins.
In response to his loving words and actions, the spirit of individuals was changed so that they became “giving by nature”. He received their offerings of love in the form of meals and guestroom accommodations in which to rest. That’s how God would organize the human economy. We share with others that which we have. And just like the miracle when Jesus fed the 5000 people from the little that was offered, everyone was satisfied. (Matthew 14:50)
The writer continues and in fact concludes with “and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.” What does that phrase in the prayer mean? You might correctly respond that it is when we die that our soul is translated into eternity. However, it has real meaning which applies to our lifestyle now while we are still alive. In these readings, we seek to change our lifestyle pattern when interacting with others; a change which requires our commitment. But, a commitment to what?
In order for us to become “instruments” for divine peace with others, we must allow God’s will to be expressed in, with, and through our interactions with other people. Let God’s purpose be active and flow through your words and actions. That type of commitment means that we (each of us) must submit to the desire of God! In our interactions with others, we must desire to express God’s will and work to achieve it. Then, we can become instruments for God’s purpose and peace in this world.
Figuratively speaking, God has written a musical score for each of our human interactions. We have a choice; we can read into our minds God’s musical score and “trumpet out” melodic sounds of peace, care and love, or we can close the pages of written music and continue meaningless sounds of “tuning up”. Every day and in every human interaction, we have that choice… to be or not to be an instrument of divine peace. Which choice will you make this year as you formulate those resolutions?
“Lord Christ Jesus, I choose to live my life as you lived your life; giving love, care, hope and forgiveness.”
Donald (Luke) Day
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare