The International Day of Peace, also known as the International Day of Prayer for Peace, was established by the United Nations in 1981 to “Strengthen the ideals of peace within and among nations and peoples.” Currently observed annually around the world on September 21, the day is marked by individuals, groups, communities and nation states as a time to cease conflict and to honor the call for peace. Religious and civic leaders down through the ages have shared their formula for achieving peace. Examples include:
“Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” John F. Kennedy
“It isn’t enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn’t enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflict; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” Dalai Lama
“The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.” Thich Nhat Hahn
There are these ideals and many more that speak to a common human desire to find a formula or method for achieving peace. However, among those found was this prayer, known by many but special to those of us involved in ministries founded by the Felician Sisters because of our historical connection with Franciscan spirituality. I invite you to read it slowly, even if you are familiar with it. I invite you to read it carefully, in a personal way, imagining yourself shifting and being transformed with the reading of each phrase. My hope is that this spiritual exercise will bring a modicum of calm, of peace in the midst of an ever moving YOU.
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.