Peace begins with each one of us Print
Written by Mary Uhler   
Thursday, Jul. 28, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

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;
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  o 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 to self that we are born to eternal life.

Peace begins with each of us

I’ve been pondering what’s been happening and what I can do personally. I always come back to the words of the “Prayer of St. Francis” also known as the “Peace Prayer.”

Although we’re not sure St. Francis actually wrote this prayer, it would seem to be in line with his teachings. Mother Teresa of Kolkata (Calcutta, India) liked it so much that she made it part of the morning prayers of the Religious Institute she established, the Missionaries of Charity. She attributed importance to it when receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 1979 and asked that it be recited. It is the school anthem of many Christian schools in Kolkata even today.

This prayer emphasizes that we are each called to be an instrument of God’s peace. We can’t rely on someone else to bring peace into the world or blame others for the lack of peace. It’s our responsibility.

How do we build peace?

And how do we bring about peace? We do it by counteracting the hatred in the world by sowing love. That means to love all people, even those who may not be lovable or nice to us. It’s more important to love than to be loved, the prayer reminds us.

Perhaps the most difficult way to bring peace is to pardon those who have injured us. Don’t we often cling to our resentment of those who have hurt us, rather than forgive them? Yet, as the prayer says, “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.” So often forgiveness really brings us peace, too.

We are also encouraged to bring faith, hope, light, and joy into our relationships with others. Often it is easy to be discouraged, but we should try to rise above the doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness in the world. Smile, greet others warmly, and help those in need.

In this Year of Mercy in the Catholic Church, it is especially important to work for peace within our own families, workplaces, and communities. We should listen to and try to understand other points of view (especially in this election year).

Let’s consider ways we can bring peace into our lives. If everyone tried to be an instrument of peace, just think what might happen in our world.