The new year began like so many prior years – I gave thoughtful reflection on the past 365 days, while I looked forward to what’s to come. In doing so, I realized that my 2020 pledge to myself is to explore the bedrock beliefs I want to see operating in my life as we move toward the election.  No sooner had 2020 arrived than chaos reared its ugly head, and I tremble for what may develop with our neighbors in the Middle East.

It’s a sad coincidence since I was already planning on writing this January blog about the Peace Prayer of St. Francis that resonates with people of all faiths and of all nations. The prayer reminds us that we can live a joyous and happy life created in our own unique rhythm while maintaining unity.

Peace Prayer of St. Francis

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;
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.

The bottom line: None of us has or ever will score 100 percent on the lofty ideals ascribed to in this prayer.  However, wouldn’t it be serendipitous to find ourselves and our political leaders in 2020 moving the conversation to civility and honestly seeking for points of acceptable compromise? 

Now, more than ever, uncertainty seems to keep knocking on the door, attempting to set us off course.  To counteract this insecurity, I also plan to carry with me throughout 2020 the thought found in the church bulletin of First Baptist Church of Chattanooga during December 2019:

“…may our hearts and minds open to give compassion recklessly, criticism sparingly, and forgiveness unconditionally.”

The Prayer of St. Francis and these words from my church bulletin echo through my mind more than ever, and I carry them with me each day. 

Read more:

Celebrating Saint Francis of Assisi

A Closer Look at the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis