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;
and 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.
I learned this prayer of St. Francis of Assisi when I was participating in InterVarsity’s New York City Urban Project Spring Break Plunge as a senior in college. Praying it every morning with my fellow students helped me focus on caring for the homeless as we wandered the streets of New York City or served food at the Bowery Mission.
Lately, though, it’s been harder to extend that same love and care to some of my friends and family, including my husband.
It’s tempting to think they should know how to love me better. It’s tempting to get frustrated in this downward spiral of explaining how I feel or my perspective on a situation in ten different ways, ten different times. It’s tempting to sulk, thinking that if they really cared, they’d initiate a conversation with me once in a while.
So I’ve been trying to pray this prayer every morning to help me realign my priorities. It is challenging for me and most of the time it’s hard to get through the whole thing for fear of not having the integrity to truly do it. But my hope is that it’ll reshape my character – and then maybe one day it won’t be so hard to pray this prayer.