The Prayer of St. Francis
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.
Where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
And where there's doubt, true faith in you.
Make me a channel of your peace.
Where there's despair in life, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness only light,
And where there's sadness ever joy.
We have heard that prayer and song so often. Like so many things that we hear so often, perhaps we have stopped actually thinking about what the words really mean. But the most wonderful thing about a prayer is, even if we have heard it 1,000 times, it can still have new meaning in our life, depending on where we are in our life.
This prayer came to my mind as I began to contemplate the Gospel story in which Jesus tells his followers not to “worry about your life” or be anxious about anything because you cannot “add a single moment to your life” by worrying. While in prayer, I began to think about the role that anxiety and fear has played in my life personally.
The irony is, much of my life I was not at peace. For those of you who have heard my story before, you may recall that for a good part of my life, I wasn’t living for God. I thought I could be happy without God. But those things that I thought “made me happy”; alcohol, partying, sex, the right circle of friends, being desired- only gave me pleasure for a short time. In the quiet of my own room, I didn’t know or like myself. I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who God was, or IF He cared about me. I was in no sense of the word “in peace.”
I remember living a life full of anxiety, full of stress, full of fear. The anxiety and the fear I felt were so powerful and so overwhelming in my life, that I truly didn’t have any control over them. And because I was not in peace, I could in no way, shape, or form give peace to anyone else.
“Where there is hatred, let me bring your love.” I didn’t even know what God’s love WAS, let alone know how to share that love with others. In a way, I was being selfish; but in another way, I didn’t love myself enough to be selfish. I was being a slave to what society was telling me I should be, and to what my “friends” expected of me.
The only way God got a hold of me, was from an evening in which I was so fed up with myself, and completely disgusted with who I was. You could say it was my personal rock bottom. I felt so alone and hated myself so much that I called out to God in anger, asking Him where He was; telling Him that He was going to have to take all of this hate, fear, and anxiety because I couldn’t handle it anymore.
In that moment, I opened the door to a Father’s unconditional love; a love that had been there my whole life, but was waiting for ME to accept it. In that moment, my life changed. God saved me. God radically saved my life. I fell in love with Jesus and received the peace that can only be found in Christ. In that moment, God literally picked me up off of the ground and gave me the peace and love that I was longing for.
What are YOU longing for? Do you have peace in your life?
If you do, you didn’t get it on your own. It came from God.
“MAKE me a channel of your peace.” We can’t do it on our own. We truly are nothing without God.
If you don’t have peace in your life, or if you don’t know how to make peace with others, it is probably because you have lost sight of who you are to God, and how much God loves you.
I want you to ask yourself:
What do I have to make peace with?
What do I have to ask forgiveness for?
What do I have to FORGIVE MYSELF for?
Who do I have to make peace with? Who do I need to forgive?
God wants to free you from all of your stress, anxiety, hatred, doubt, despair, darkness, and sadness.
God wants to give you peace in your life so that you maybe bring hope, light, and joy to others. You simply have to say YES to His love, and be willing to follow Him.