Sunday, December 5, 2010
Advent Musing Day 7
It's called "The Peace Prayer" in some places and "A Short Guide to a Happy Life" in others, but I learned it first as "The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi."
The prayer captivated my heart, but also my imagination when I was a college student. Somehow, the words were like a star, guiding me into the kind of life I wanted to live. For me, these words express what it means to live as a person of faith and I have returned to them repeatedly through my entire lifetime to get me back on track, to remind me who I want to be and how I want to live.
As a collector of Christmas music, I peruse the latest releases every year, and this year I added Susan Boyle's offering to my collection. I love her voice, but even more I love her courage.
I don't know that I've ever heard "The Peace Prayer" in a Christmas collection, but now that I've heard Susan Boyle's rendition of it, I'm adding it to my favorite songs for Christmas. What better prayer could there be to capture the message and the meaning of this season? How can you know the story of Christmas and the intent of it, not to mention the teachings of the founder of our faith and not want to be and do what this prayer suggests?
Look at the words of this prayer/song and marvel at their simplicity and beauty. Ponder them in your heart, like Mary pondered things in her heart. Turn them over and over in your mind and let them sink deep down, daring even to let them move, ever so gently, into the places of your heart where you store cynicism, negativism, skepticism and all other pockets of fear.
I'm pondering them again, as if I've never heard them, given the fresh interpretation of Susan Boyle. I am going to take a phrase each day this week and try to live the truth of it. I'm going to journal about each part of the prayer. I'll record and descrbe the feelings that part evokes and name any resistance to doing what the prayer suggests. In doing all of that, perhaps the prayer will take root in my heart.
At some point, that which is rooted in our hearts does eventually flower into action, naturally and in the fullness of time, if we are faithful and persistent.
Here is the first part of the prayer.
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.
I wonder what would happen if, within our families of faith, we made this prayer "our song"?
If we did, might our "witness" have more authenticity and integrity? Might we not be more effective if we actually did what Jesus asked us to do?
It's a challenge, following Jesus.
It's not for the faint-hearted. Together, we can encourage each other toward the Light, to actually be who was say we are -- Christian.
Grace to you on this Sunday--
(Tomorrow: the other part of the prayer.)