Instrument

Instrument: “a tool or device used for a particular purpose; especially: a tool or device designed to do careful and exact work”¹

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the 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. Amen.

As I reread this prayer, known as “The Peace Prayer” and the “Saint Francis of Assisi’s Prayer,” I wondered about the conditions under which it was originally penned. According to Dr. Christian Renoux, Associate Professor of the University of Orleans, France, (as cited in the Franciscan Archive)², the Peace prayer first appeared in France in 1912 in La Clochette, a small spiritual magazine. Additionally, Dr. Renoux notes, “Between the two world wars, the prayer circulated in Europe and was translated into English” and was first attributed to Saint Francis in 1927.

The fact that “The prayer circulated between two world wars…” makes sense. Peace, whether in our personal lives, in families, country, or the world, is something we often take for granted in the absence of conflict. The absence of conflict, unfortunately, is a state that has been unknown in the earth for decades; however, it is a state from which we can often distance ourselves when the conflict does not touch us directly. But oh how we long for peace when storms are raging internally and externally, and war seems to have been declared in our lives, and we feel as if we have been thrust unprepared onto a battlefield. During these seasons, we often cry, beg, plead, groan for relief, for an end to the warfare, for peace. I wonder, however, how often in conflicts do we whisper these words in some variation, “Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace…” based on the recognition that we can be the instrument He uses to infuse peace into a situation?

Speaking from personal experience, we can too easily point to the role of another person or persons in the conflict, the “trying-to- remove-a-speck-in-my-brother’s-eye-when-there-is-plank-in-mine” phenomenon described in Luke 6:42³. In addition, my preference too often is that he, she, or they take the first step in resolving the conflict. This perspective however, contradicts the instruction in Matthew 5:23-24³, for me to initiate reconciliation. Umm.

It is unlikely that I will ever be called to intervene in national and international conflicts; however, I can allow Him to make me an instrument of His peace in the spaces and places I inhabit.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, the truth;
Where there is doubt, the 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. Amen.

¹http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/instrument

²http://www.shrinesf.org/franciscan-prayer.html

³ http://biblehub.com/luke/6-42.htm; https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5:23-24

 

 

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