St Francis of Assisi’s Peace Prayer fairly well covers the topic of forgiveness, our shared human need for grace, and to extend it to others. Considering the words comprising this, it seems to be offered as a genuine plea for grace and peace, citing examples of much of what often plagues the human soul.
Studying his prayer carefully, you will see it serves as a model for setting things right in life. Usually when we come to a point where we realize there is a problem, we actually have to admit something is not as it should be. The starting point is always within ourselves, which is where St Francis begins, asking to be made an instrument of peace. This is not necessarily an overnight heart transformation for most, to be sure!
In the second half of St Francis’ prayer, it’s clear his perspective is focused more outwardly than inwardly. Since his heart is right, he already knows it’s not all about him (frequently the genesis of troubling human matters crying out for forgiveness).
His focus is also an excellent example, showing us how to go about this sticky business almost everyone seems to want to avoid, and yet fervently desires to acquire, or benefit from the end result. Forgiveness, extending grace, asking another for forgiveness necessarily involves more than just “self” to accomplish (except for special circumstances due to another’s death or personal safety issues).
In each example of his heartfelt request to love more, offer grace, and dying to his (our) own selfish human needs, he perfectly illustrates how by simply praying, loving and forgiving others, the blessing of this selfless act is returned, magnified over many times the little utterance or tiny act of extending an olive branch we allowed ourselves to offer.
St Francis of Assisi Peace Prayer
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.
~ St. Francis of Assisi
After all is said and done, realizing how much better you feel, the peace you may now experience (after grace), you’ll probably wonder why you waited so long!
Revel in the Possibilities!
More: About my Forgiveness book [coming soon!]
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