Spiritual Tools - St. Francis Prayer

Version 1

Lord, let me be an instrument of Thy peace.
That where there ishatred let me put* LOVE.
Where there isinjury - PARDON.
Where there isdoubt - FAITH.
Where there isdespair - HOPE.
Where there issadness - 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 wereceive.
It is in PARDONING that we arepardoned.
It is in DYING to SELF that we areborn to Eternal Life.

*Note on "put" - Many translate the original French "le mette" as "sow" but my research indicates it literally means "put" in the present tense. It could be translated "now put" which emphasizes the "now". I do like the use of "sow" particularly in response to hatred. I may not be able to speak to the one who hates, but I can always find something good to say about them that I scatter around like seeds.

Version 2

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.
-that where there ishatred,I may bringLOVE.
-that where there iswrong,I may bringthe SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS.
-that where there isdiscord,I may bringHARMONY.
-that where there iserror,I may bringTRUTH.
-that where there isdespair,I may bringHOPE.
-that where there isdoubt,I may bringFAITH.
-that where there isshadows,I may bringLIGHT.
-that where there issadness,I may bringJOY.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather
to COMFORTthan to becomforted;
to UNDERSTANDthan to beunderstood;
to LOVEthan to beloved.
For it is bySELF-FORGETTINGthat one finds
It is byFORGIVINGthat oneis forgiven.
It is byDYINGthat oneone awakens to Eternal Life.

This prayer is the inspiration behind this site. In its simple point-counter-point fashion it teaches me to respond in principle rather than to react on feelings. I should respond with prudence based on the nature of the situation for the good of all involved. I do not need to be right or be treated right. I need to be the one treating others right regardless of how they treat me first.

For example, in the second version it suggests to respond to HATRED with LOVE. Responding with the TRUTH has little chance of channeling peace. A person who hates me is unlikely to respect my version of reality or at best will suspect my motives. When I look for the good in them first and tell others what I find, then I am sowing and putting Love in response to hatred.

Likewise, someone in DESPAIR is better served by a dose of HOPE than an appeal to the more demanding and frequently partisan principle of FAITH. As they gain HOPE, I may find the opportunity to describe FAITH but only the FAITH I have exhibited already by living this prayer.

This prayer is NOT hard to live by. Not living by this prayer is hard. Ignoring its suggestions creates many difficulties. Look at HATRED. Choosing an "eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth " creates many blind or toothless people. Likewise, wronging someone who wrongs me may seem justified, but not when I wrong myself as well by creating a darkness that blocks the Sunlight of the Spirit.

I am not the Peace but the channel or instrument. I am the pipe not the water. My responsibility is to taint the water as little as possible and keep the channel free of debris. Spiritual growth is largely a process of subtraction rather than addition. I keep the channel clear to the extent that I replace resentment and fears with kindness and wonder.

The prayer has two distinct but interrelated parts. The first shows the ideal response for a given situation. Part two is proactive. It suggests it is better to be the first to offer healing rather than wait for the world to behave. Another need not be worthy of forgiveness for I am already worthy of being a forgiving person. The one acting out does not need to be worthy of my understanding for I am, by Grace, already worthy of becoming understanding. The act of becoming loving and tolerant is the reward - a little piece of Heaven on Earth.


Comment

PRINCIPLES

  1. Brotherly Love
  2. Forgiveness
  3. Understanding
  4. Tolerance
  5. Prudence

ACTION STEPS

  1. Write these out in this fashion by hand every morning for two weeks.
  2. Memorize the situations and cooresponding suggested actions
  3. Review the recent past for times when you practiced the prayer and when you may have gone counter to it
  4. What was the result?
  5. Later, when faced with indecision, pause and find the situation in the prayer that best fits the current situation. Apply the cooresponding suggested action.
  6. Share the story with someone later annd ask for feedback

EXAMPLE

A carrot, an egg, and a cup of coffee...
 A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.
Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying 
A word. 

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. 

Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, "Tell me what you see." 

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. 

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. 

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled, as she tasted its rich aroma the daughter then asked, "What does it mean, mother?" 

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its insides became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water. 
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? 

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength? 

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart? 

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean? 

"Saint Francis" Prayer 1912

- No known connection to him.

Appeared first in a Paris Catholic magazine 1912 here quoted from Wikipedia translated from the French:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.