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;
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.
The Prayer of St. Francis
Since posting Friend or Foe? yesterday, I've received multiple comments from readers about the timeliness of the message, how hard it is, given the state of our world, to choose to see the universe as fundamentally friendly, and, how much we need to be reminded of this most important choice. I agree whole-heartedly with their comments. That's why I wrote it in the first place. I won't speak for other writers, but I usually write about what I most need to hear.
As I was putting the finishing touches on yesterday's blog, I wanted to crop the photo of St. Francis of Assisi so that very little of the mountain was left in the picture. Why? If you look up towards the top of the mountain on the right hand side of the picture, you can see a long black line that kind of looks like a fence. Except that it isn't a fence, it's a wall, as in a section of "The Wall" between the United States and Mexico. I didn't want the wall in the picture. It, for me, is a metaphor for a hostile universe if ever there was one. I wanted St. Francis, who with his beautiful prayer is, for me, a metaphor for a friendly universe *He called all creatures his "brothers" and "sisters", preached to the birds, and saw nature as a mirror of God. Hell, he even called his chronic illnesses his "sisters". But try as I might, every time I tried to crop the photo, the editing feature wouldn't work. It. Would. Not. Work. On about my tenth try and with more than a few hostile words for my computer, I got it. The picture depicted the choice between Friend or Foe perfectly. At any given moment we have the opportunity to choose what we believe about the universe in which we live.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not talking about putting on rose colored glasses, a happy face, or turning a blind eye to all of the vicious, unkind, malicious, unsympathetic, venomous, harsh, brutal, inhospitable (all synonyms for "hostile") actions we see, hear, and perhaps personally experience. What I am suggesting, is that underneath it all, the heart that holds the world together beats with love, respect, and the desire for the well-being of all. And just like the picture with the wall that wouldn't be conveniently cropped out, the two views of the world between which we must choose are in stark contrast to one another.
Maybe it has to be stark so that we don't miss it.
Lord, make me and instrument of your peace.