We invite you to meditate of the St. Francis prayer as a way to better understand how God is calling you to be an instrument of peace in this world.
The following reflection is from one of our Summer 2017 college student volunteers, John Treanor (Mount St. Mary’s ’18). Our college student volunteers have given us time during their summers to serve in a variety of ways for various Catholic Charities programs. This summer we were blessed with three student volunteers from Mount St. Mary’s, University of Virginia, and Benedictine College (KS). Look forward to more reflections from them.
By John Treanor (Mount St. Mary’s, Class of 2018)
The prayer of Saint Francis is a cornerstone of modern Catholic ideology. Through this specific prayer, one can open oneself up to the Lord by letting go of selfish and sinful inclinations. By focusing on the will of the Lord, people can come to be instruments of heavenly peace on earth. The will of the individual means very little and it is our duty as Catholics to live for the good of our fellow man.
While there is some speculation regarding whether or not St. Francis actually wrote this prayer, the message of the prayer is what truly matters and provides a means of living a well-balanced and sincerely selfless life. The prayer is as follows:
“Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
That where there is hatred, I may bring love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light.
That where is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, rather than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to eternal Life. Amen.”
By realizing the vices of a world filled with sin, one can methodically change the self by eliminating the vices within. By doing this, one can become an instrument of peace. Being an instrument of peace means being fully inclined to carry out the will of the Lord without any mental reservations or selfish motives. All men are called to this life of selflessness, which we have turned a blind eye to, because of sin.
In the world of today, there are many sins which have taken root in the hearts and minds of mankind. People have become blinded and enslaved by things like hatred, doubt, and despair. These vices keep people from living the life that God has intended for them- a member of a selfless community built upon peace, understanding, and selflessness. Until people learn how to put the message of this prayer into action, they will remain unable to grow and unable to heal themselves from the damage that sin creates.
Catholic Charities strives regularly to be an instrument of peace. By incorporating the message of this prayer into its ministries, Catholic Charities carries out the will of the Father. The Catholic Church has always defended the dignity and sanctity of human life. As individual Catholics, we must reach out to our most damaged brothers and sisters and help them in whatever way we can. Those who are already healed do not need a physician, but those who are sick do. Catholic Charities embodies the “instrument of peace” mentality which the prayer depicts in this way.
Through its various ministries, Catholic Charities “brings hope” where there is despair. Through programs like Christ House and Family Transitional Housing, Catholic Charities is able to help the destitute and show them the peace and love of the Father. These programs provide healing in the spiritual sense, as well as tangible physical aid- for example, Car Ministry helps people who have transportation needs.
We are all called to be instruments of peace. How have you helped bring love to your community?
Learn more about how you can become instruments of peace within the community by volunteering with Catholic Charities! Visit: Volunteer at Catholic Charities.