“Lord, make me an instrument of peace.”
With that single line St Francis defined a life of mindfulness and loving kindness long before those terms were first used. Long before pop culture turned them into an industry. A t-shirt slogan.
He goes on to describe how that instrument looks. It is one of understanding and giving. A life in service of love.
“Lord make me an instrument of 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
Oh 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
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life”
This is how I want my life to be yet I often fail in these intentions. Instead, I want to be understood. To be consoled. To wade deeply in my sorrow. To be loved despite my shortcomings.
When I find myself on the needy end of the spectrum that runs from giving to receiving I remember that I can not only offer these gifts to myself, I should.
My efforts to be an instrument of peace must begin with myself because to offer peace to others I must first have it within me. The good news is that inner peace is often gained in the offering of it to others. It is a beautiful, endless, self-sustaining circle.
This was my meditation this morning:
That I forgive myself and not beat myself up for being human.
That I keep strong the faith that brought me here.
That I keep the flame of hope ever burning within me to light both bright days and dark nights.
That I be willing to find and feed my joy, especially when it seems so far away.
That I love myself as I wish to be loved by others and that I share that love regardless of my pain.
That peace isn’t just something we feel, it’s something we practice.
I believe I need more practice.
Peace be upon you.