Make me an instrument of your peace
Lord, Make me an instrument of Your peace,
I am preparing a class on the St. Francis prayer. This prayer while not necessarily straight from St. Francis is a portrait of the life he led. This was life. From the moment he saw his first vision until his death he lived the words from this prayer. He was and still is a vibrant example of the gospel life. So, while this prayer may or may not be original with St. Francis it describes not only who St. Francis was, but also what a life following Christ really looks like.
I would like to take each line and reflect on it. I have posted my thoughts on this prayer once before and you can find that blog on this site. I may even write a book based on this prayer.
The opening line, as all prayers do addresses God. We pray to God not to ourselves or some cosmic or universal principle. Addressing our prayer to God is a way of recognizing our dependence on God and our commitment to follow God in our life.
St. Francis is asking God, the source and ground of our being, the source of life and the giver of all good gifts to make us into the people of the Kingdom, so that we may extend the love and grace of God lavished on us to others who need it too. God’s peace helps us live in a chaotic, unforgiving world in a healthy and loving way. We want to live with the sure and saving knowledge that even in the darkest night we are loved and cared for in spite of who we are.
In most of Paul’s letters runs a theme of peace and grace. Here are a few examples
1 Thessalonians 5: May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
2 Corinthians 1 & 13: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ… Live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
Romans 1: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Each of us has a part to play in the sacred story of the universe. We are asking through this prayer that God make us into the kind of person who can play their part in the good and bad times. That we are the kind of person who in St. Francis own words, “our walking is our preaching.”
In each moment of our lives, we are to be a living sermon for the Kingdom of God. We are to be the kind of people who don’t just pay lip service to the love and grace of God found in Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. We are asking by praying this prayer that God makes us into his peace in the world. We are not asking to be super Christians to become perfect, but are acknowledging our sinfulness, imperfections, and inadequacies and in spite of all it open to becoming better than we used to be. We know that we don’t need to be perfect in order for God to work through us and openly express our desire to be the hands and feet of Christ in this broken world. This prayer is not about us, but is about what we can do in the world.
The rest of this amazing prayer just builds on and deepens this first line of the prayer of St. Francis.
Meister Eckhart said, “Spirituality is not to be learned by flight from the world, or by running away from things, or by turning solitary and going apart from the world. Rather, we must learn an inner solitude wherever or with whomsoever we may be. We must learn to penetrate things and find God there.”
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