One of the most frequently read prayers by those seeking peace and comfort is attributed to Francis of Assisi. Saint Francis is the patron saint of ecology, animals, non-violence, and peacemaking—because he understood that the entire circle of life has God at the center of it all. In Francis’ world, the sun, moon, animals, plants, and elements all show reverence to God. He refused to exclude anything. He kissed the leper, he loved the poor, and he wore patches on the outside of his habit so everybody would know that’s what he was like on the inside. For Francis, there was one world and it was all sacred.
Today I invite you to engage in the spiritual practice of “sacred reading” (lectio divina) using Francis’ “Peace Prayer.” Lectio divina is a contemplative way to read short passages of sacred text and discover meanings running deeper than the literal layer. There are many variations of sacred reading; all are an invitation to take a “long, loving look” at some aspect of life, with scripture, poetry, music, or nature.
With the first reading of the Peace Prayer, listen with your heart’s ear for a phrase or word that stands out for you. During the second reading, reflect on what touches you, perhaps speaking that response aloud or writing in a journal. After reading the passage a third time, respond with a prayer or expression of what you have experienced and ask yourself what this passage calls you to do or be.
Finally, after a fourth reading, rest in silence.
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.
Posted on November 19, 2019