Make me an instrument of thy peace

The 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 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.

I've always loved this prayer.  The swami that I heard speak on Friday reminded me of this prayer.
He said that even if you don't know how to pray all you have to do is talk to God.  He said just say "God this is your day.  Let my voice be your voice and my hands your instruments".  That resonated with me because each morning as I sit at my alter I too say to God "Not my will but thy will be done".  The trouble with that is that sometimes God's will is not exactly what I had in mind for myself.  Some days I am scared to say those words because God only knows what's in store for me but I say them anyway and I try to really mean them.

I have the prayer of St. Francis on my alter in a little frame.  I've been reading it each morning and over the last few days really trying to put the words into practice.   It's been really, really challenging.  Especially "where there is injury, pardon" and "where there is hatred, let me sow love".  Really?  I think to myself.  Was St. Francis really suggesting that we sow love where there is hatred?  Did he really want us to pardon where there is injury? Why didn't he tell us how to do that?   Again, I say the words and I really want to mean them but My God! It's hard some days. I remind myself that I'm only human.  It's okay if I falter. God is a loving and forgiving God.  Luckily for me because I sure as hell have faltered.   I'm not sure where I got the idea that just because I'm a yogini that it's not okay to get angry or feel depressed.  I don't know why I hold myself to such impossibly high standards.  I/we need to give ourselves a break.  It's okay to feel what we feel.   Even if we perceive those feelings to be negative.   The words of St. Francis apply to us too.
Let us sow love when we are feeling hatred towards ourselves.  Where there is injury; pardon.    Where there is doubt, faith.  - Some days I doubt everything.  Those days I have to step forward in faith.  That's all I can do.  I have faith in God. I have faith that as long as I offer my life to God even in darkness there will be light.  Even in sadness I will find joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not seek so much to be consoled as to console........
For it is in giving that we receive.

Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti  


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