“Lord, Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace…..”
These first words of the “Peace Prayer of St. Francis” give us a good subject for meditation as we begin the New Year 2008 .If there is anything we really need in the world, it is peace within our own hearts and peace among one another. St. Francis was such a person who attained the reputation of being a peacemaker, as we see in the following story.
In the year 1220, Francis was
preaching in the public square at
Francis took the words of the Gospel seriously. “When you come into a house, salute it saying: ‘Peace be to this house’.” And even when he came to die these same thoughts were on his lips: “The Lord revealed to me this salutation that we should say: ‘May the Lord give you His Peace’.” St. Thomas says that peace is the “tranquility of order, within oneself and with others…Within ourselves in so far as we love God with our whole heart, by referring all things to Him, so that all our desires tend to one Object, God…With others, in so far as we love our neighbor as ourselves, so that we wish to fulfil our neighbor’s will as though it were our own.”
If charity is the cause or basis of peace, then failures in charity will certainly lead to a loss of peace; for example, a stubborn clinging to our own opinions, our own ideas. Someone expressed this attitude very well by saying: “There are two sides to every question – my side and the wrong side!” To have peace there must be consideration of the thoughts and feelings of others, a true listening to what may be different from our own opinions.
St. James says: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” A little condescension, mild speech, can go a long way towards a peaceful home. “A mild answer breaks wrath, but a harsh word stirs up fury.”(Prov.15:1). A friend once told me –“The stubborn, angry person forgets that we are all human, we all make mistakes. That’s why there are erasers on pencils!”
A beautiful example of a
peacemaker is our own St. Elizabeth of
That was not the end of her
suffering. Her husband had a very serious quarrel with his brother over
property rights and possessions.
Her own son, Alfonse, became
ambitious and rose up against his father.
He gathered a considerable army to overcome his kingship. Not only did
National Spiritual Assistant SFO –