Right now my country is in a welter of anger, fear, pain, and (too often) recrimination. I don’t know what words to say about it; as with the Orlando shooting, I think other people have already said what needs to be said better than I could here.
Back in the 13th century, though, Saint Francis of Assissi wrote a prayer that encapsulates a lot of what I’m feeling right now. I first encountered it as a singer, and along with Tich Nhat Hanh’s simple breath-following meditation from Being Peace, it it one of the things that swims into my mind at difficult times like this one.
Even for those whose worldview is entirely secular, it says a great deal about how to be a force for peace in the world — not by giving money to organizations (which is okay, too) or agitating for change (which is also okay), but simply by being in the world. Anyway, here it is.
Saint Francis’ Prayer for Peace
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy 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.