Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me a channel of thy peace!
That where there is hatred, I may bring love.
That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.
That where there is discord, I may bring harmony.
That where there is error, I may bring truth.
That where there is doubt, I may bring faith.
That where there is despair, I may bring hope.
That where there are shadows, I may bring light.
That where there is sadness, I may bring joy.
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted.
To understand, than to be understood.
To love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.
I have a prayer that I saw most days that follows the spirit of the Prayer of St. Francis. I say, “God, allow me to love more than I hate and listen more than I talk.” I say this because I know myself fairly well and I know that most of the time my mouth is what gets me in trouble. I know that I usually don’t act in ways that hurt other people but I tend to speak without considering the impact of the words I say. I have a tendency to speak without a filter. I have no intentions to hurt those around me but the reality is that at times my words can be harmful or harsh. So most days I ask God to direct my thoughts towards love and direct my energies towards listening.
If you look at the world today, I think there is a great lesson that can be learned from the words of St. Francis. We are often times, collectively as a people, so quick to hate and so late to love. We walk around afraid that the next person we meet is going to hurt us and so unconsciously we decide to hurt them first, to save ourselves from the pain we perceive is coming.
Yet, hate is never the way and all it does is breed further hate and confusion. I don’t know this in some intangible esoteric way, but I know it intimately because I lived my life in this manner for so many years.
For years, and yes I mean years, I walked around with a heart full of hate which all stemmed from a deep inner hatred that I had for myself,and it was mostly focused inward but occasionally it would bubble over to the people around me and the world at large. I was aware of this hatred of self it was so evident by my need to destroy myself through using drugs and alcohol, but I didn’t really know how deep this hate went or how to even go about healing from it.
Once I got sober I began the process of forgiving myself and in turn a lot of the hate I felt melted away and was replaced with love. When this happened I began to notice that the world was a nicer place to live in. I started to believe in the good of this world, that in the end hope prevails. I also learned how to be present in the moment, how to truly engage in the world around me and not get lost in past or afraid of the future. You see for so long I had lived in a state of suspended animation by choosing to not be present in my life I had little attachment to the outcome of important aspects of life.
Once I began to feel love, I was then able to perceive love in the world, and in turn I was able to attempt to change the world around me through imparting love on others. I was able to be there for friends in need and I was able to walk softer through life, less afraid that people were out to hurt me.
Without having actually experienced this shift, it’s hard to describe and that is why I can fully understand why the world is the way it is. Most people will never have the experience that I had, one where they reach the end of themselves and realize just how empty they are. One where they realize that hate has drained them of their connection with God or a Higher Power and so hate has drained them of their ability to connect with others. And so they walk around afraid and hateful without even knowing that they are.
Although I do not fault people for this, or at least I try not, and I try my best not judge, all I do is try to treat every person I meet with the love that I would offer a good friend and usually the responses I get are incredible.
I make a point of treating those around me the way that I would want to be treated. With compassion and understanding. I try to smile at people, look them in the eyes and treat them kindly and in doing so I feel as if I make the world a little bit brighter and little less heavy.
Every person we meet on this planet is just as confused as I am. We all wake up on a spinning blue ball in the middle of infinite darkness and the mere fact that we even exist is baffling, and so taking this into account I try to be quick to forgive and quick to embrace because in reality most people are doing the best that they can.
Even when people do intentionally hurt me, they are not really hurting me, they are simply lashing out at a fear they have. Whatever that fear may be, is none of my business, but my business is, how I react. If I can react with love, I have a chance at enacting change, but if I react with hate, I just ensure the cycle continues.
While I am by no means perfect and I do not perfectly love, I try my best everyday to be the best woman that I can be and to try to love a lot more then I hate.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.