At my library, there is a beautiful statue of St. Francis. It stands in a small room on the main floor and has scared me out of my wits when I thought it was a person standing there. I am not Catholic, and do not know very much about the man or the saint. Today, however, I am intrigued and touched by his words.
Francis of Assisi lived in a time of turmoil, much like today. In the culture of his time, there was a great gap between the very wealthy and the very poor and Christians and Muslims were warring with each other in dramatic battles and hatred was rampant. Francis longed to do something that would make a difference and heal the hate and hurt. He studied the words of Jesus, and actually took those words seriously. He gave up every possession he had and gave to anyone who was in need. He spoke out and wrote poetry and tried to make the world understand that in order to change the world, we have to love others and love the world we live in.
Francis wasn't some hippie shouting "make love, not war,' he was on a mission from God. He heard God whispering to him to repair His church, which was in ruins. All he did with his life from that point on was to obey his heavenly Father. He left a legacy many years ago that you and I can pick up and continue today, by studying those red words of Jesus and putting them in practice every day.
What does that mean? Love.
"This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you." John 15:12
"For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;" Matthew 25:35
"YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Matthew 22:39
St. Francis' prayer so many years ago is so very relevant today. May we all be instruments of His peace and do what we can to repair the church and the world, today and every day.
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;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
-- St. Francis of Assisi