Today, as I found myself inundated (yet again) with increasingly hyperbolic rhetoric from both sides of the political spectrum, I realized that I needed a break from it all. I needed a sense of calm, of reflection, and of peace – and I started thinking of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi –
“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 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 to self that we are born to eternal life.”
As I was looking for the text of the prayer, I also found the following reflection, written by the Blessed Giles of Assisi, who was a contemporary of St. Francis –
“Blessed is he who loves and does not therefore desire to be loved; blessed is he who fears and does not therefore desire to be feared; blessed is he who serves and does not therefore desire to be served; blessed is he who behaves well toward others and does not desire that others behave well toward him; and because these are great things, the foolish do not rise to them.”
And as I read, both of them reminded me of the beauty and the power of language to create unity and peace, even in a time of division and discord.
I know it’s a simple observation, but sometimes the simplest things are still the most important – and, unfortunately, still the most easily forgotten.