Lord, make us instruments of your peace
In recent years, the word terrorism has become part of our regular vocabulary. There is hardly a day when we do not hear about some horrific terror-filled act happening somewhere in our world. Now, just 300 miles from Saint Francis Retreat House, we hear of terror in the town of Charlottesville, Virginia. As I watched the news with my brother friars, I was overwhelmed by the hatred which I saw in the eyes of the protestors. I sat there wondering, "How can this ever be turned around? How can this kind of anger be brought to an end and replaced with understanding and compassion?" It seems almost a lost cause. Then, I remembered a line from the song Show the Way by David Wilcox where he confronts despair with this passage: "For in this darkness love will show the way."
For we Franciscans, love is our passion and our mission. It is only the Great Love, the Lord Jesus who is love, who can bring peace...even to a situation as difficult as Charlottesville and to every place on earth where hatred has its way. Perhaps now more than ever, we need to pray that prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi. I invite you to join all of us here at Saint Francis as we pray this 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;
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.
--Brother Mark and all at Saint Francis Retreat House