17 July 2009

The prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy 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.
-Commonly attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Even when I was in the depths of my atheism, I could see the beauty and truth in this prayer. It's probably this prayer, along with a few other writings and prayers (not all of them Christian), that brought me back into spirituality.

Once I get past the simple yearning for this in my life, I wonder how my life would be different if I could truly live up to the ideals of this prayer. If I could let go of my own self-interests and neediness to look for others' interests or where I am needed. To see the opportunities to make the world just a tiny bit better.

But I rarely remember this in practice. Maybe there is some secret to link your spiritual ideals to your actions.

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