Peace Prayer attributed to Francis of Assisi
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;
And 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.”
What a challenging prayer for peace. Who is this person that wrote such a prayer? What does he know about peace?
Francis of Assisi is attributed to having written this prayer hundreds of years ago. He lived in the late 1100s- early 1200s. He is most noted for his kindness and loving animals and all creation. Many people celebrate his feast day on October 4 and around that time offer a Blessing for Animals. Francis was born the son of a rich merchant in Italy. He led a happy-go-lucky life, became a soldier, was captured and put in prison. Then one day he had a spiritual awakening. He believed that God told him to repair his church. So, Francis rebuilt a falling-down church building. However, he soon realized that it was people that God was meaning for him to help.
In his life, Francis had many struggles. Yet, in spite of all his struggles and pain, he continued to give his life over to the care of God. This, I believe, is the reason so many people are drawn to him. He shared his peace and joy that came as he faced and dealt with his struggles.
What impresses me about Francis was his deep respect and reverence for all of creation and life. Countless books have been written about him and legends told. A popular one tells about how he tamed the wild wolf of Gubbio who was killing animals and people of the village.
What does that have to do with us, and with peace in today’s world? We can look to Francis as an example of kindness and peace. Because of his deep faith and trust in God and his love for all creation, he was able to write a prayer like the peace prayer.
How do we find peace? How is peace possible in today’s challenging world? I believe that first we need to look at what keeps us from experiencing inner peace, acknowledge it and deal with whatever those causes are. We can follow that by thinking of the ways that God has given us strength in struggle and been with us through our unpeaceful times. We can be aware of all the good things that we do have, simple as they may be.
In being grateful for the ways that God has gifted us and has been with us in the midst of our struggles, we can experience an inner peace even as we may be experiencing outer turmoil. In doing so, we can live out the peace prayer of Francis of Assisi and thus experience peace and joy in the midst of daily living.
May God’s peace always be with you.