Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
St Francis of Assisi
I’m browsing through pages in my blog book from this time last year for fodder for a writing day. At the top of a page I come across the same words that have been dancing in my mind lately. The prayer of St. Francis.
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.
I’ve appreciated the words of this prayer since I first came across it twenty or thirty years ago. I once had them pinned to the wall in my office. I’ve claimed for my own lately.
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.
I think that St. Francis must have had the heart of a peacemaker—one I am called to have too in my circle of influence.
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.
As I write the words “circle of influence” I’m reminded of Stephen Covey’s work where I first heard them, the training I took on his seven habits, and how the principles of those habits continue to influence my life all these years later. The fourth and fifth habits are especially peacemaking ones. I think I want to reread that book and then remember that someone borrowed it and never returned it—and it still kind of bugs me. I decide to buy another copy.
1. Be proactive
2. Begin with the end in mind
3. Put first things first
4. Think win-win
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
7. Sharpen the saw
My mind goes to another, M. Scott Peck, whose wisdom and four tools of discipline that he writes about in The Road Less Traveled, have been a guiding influence since I read them in my twenties.
1. Delaying gratification
2. Acceptance of responsibility
3. Dedication to truth
It all can be summed up in the Royal law of scripture: love your neighbour as yourself.
Love. It’s all so simple really, but we are not.
I am not. I fall. I fail.
Lord, change me; make me an instrument of your peace.