Good Morning Brothers and Sisters…
We often say that we need to emulate Jesus in our life. This essentially means that the people around us need to see, and recognize, ‘Jesus like’ characteristics within us. I’m sure you realize that we cannot do this, but we can become this…through prayer.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of Your 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;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, 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.
This prayer forces me to wrestle with the narcissism of being an American right away. Jesus promises us in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” I have always grabbed this verse and thought, “Jesus promised that I would FEEL peace…why don’t I?” After years of trying to figure out why, looking for the small print that rendered the promise void, feeling like I’m too sinful to receive the promise of peace, I finally found the answer, and the answer is the first line of this prayer; “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace”. In other words, transform me into an instrument that plays sounds, notes, and songs for others and not for myself. When I see hatred, may I play the sounds and songs of love. When I see injury, may I play the songs of forgiveness and healing. When I see doubt, may the chords and riffs of faith leap from me. When I see darkness, may I flip on the stage lights to illuminate the path and direction of the Lamb. When I see sadness, may joy crackle through the amplifiers and speakers to turn those frowns upside down (you know you just smiled). I started to get the feeling that the peace Jesus promised wasn’t for me to hold onto, but for me to give, and in the giving, I would in turn…receive.
“O Divine Master, 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.”
First of all, we have to admit, this is a very ‘Un-American’ way of thinking. In fact, this is contrary to just about everything our culture teaches us.
“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.”
Again…not what we see projected through our TV’s, internet feeds, and social media stuff. It is fair to say, that for us to emulate Jesus, we can’t look like this world. We need to receive the peace He promised us, in order to console others, to love others, to forgive others, and to die to self; in order that we may start to look a little bit more like the One who hung…for you and for me.
I am praying the ‘prayer of St Francis’ for all of us. May we play the sounds, notes, and songs of PEACE today, tomorrow, and onward. May we become an instrument. Blessings…