Monthly Archives: December 2021

On the Seventh Day of Christmas…

#7 in the Christmastide Prayers for Peace Series

Find a quiet place and invite the God of your understanding into this moment and space made sacred by Love. When ready, return to your journal and write the St. Francis Prayer from its beginning and through the next prayer in the series.

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 despair, I may bring hope – that where there are shadows, I may bring light.

During this time of year, many of our religions and traditions include waiting for, remembering, and celebrating with light—light from a star (Christmas), recalling the mystical light of an oil lamp (Hanukkah), lighting seven candles in gratitude (Kwanzaa). But our need and search for light doesn’t necessarily follow any particular church or secular calendar. And, our souls tend to notice the dimming before our mind recognizes what shadows are in and around us.

Maybe it is a good time to be still and listen more closely to the quiet voice of our soul, and ask, “What shadows do I feel in the bright of day? What fading light has gone un-noticed in the busyness of this season?”

Listen to the words in the prayer, and the words inside of you. Write them down. Thank them. And, if there is silence, allow yourself to sit in the familiar comfort of these words of peace.

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SHADOWS. I pause and notice not only the shadows I sense in me, but also ask what shadows I might have cast on others by inserting myself between them and their Higher Power/God?

I can call it “helping,” or getting it done faster and more efficiently. But when I am doing for others out of my need to be admired, or to be someone else’s solution when they have the resources to do it on their own—and in their own way—I am blocking the light of their one true Source.

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where I am casting shadows by standing between you and yours, let me get out of the way of your Light.

*Prayer of St. Francis, as presented in ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions‘
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. Amen.


NOTES: This is a public forum and comments and questions are always welcome, but please be thoughtful and respectful to the journey for yourself and for others. Please also know that I welcome hearing from you directly about your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions during and after this Christmastide season. www.theresa@theresawyatt.com

On the Sixth Day of Christmas…

#6 in the Christmastide Prayers for Peace Series

Find a quiet place and invite the God of your understanding into this moment and space made sacred by Love. When ready, return to your journal and write the St. Francis Prayer from its beginning and through the next prayer in the series.

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.

Despair may be one of the easier emotions to feel in our body. Do I notice where despair might be residing in my body right now? In my tummy? In my back? In my heart or in my throat?

Or, do I experience despair as a mental awareness—something like depression? If so, does this depression feel heavy? As a new temporary condition, or a familiar companion that parked itself in me so many years ago that I dare not think what it would feel like if it left?

What other awareness do I notice when I see despair linked to hope? Does the prayer bring me hope, or resignation? Do I feel lighter, or heavier? In what things do I hope?

Listen to the words in the prayer, and the words inside of you. Write them down. Thank them. And, if there is silence, allow yourself to sit in the familiar comfort of these words of peace.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

DESPAIR. Reading our prayer this time, I hear the word despair as un-coupled. Which feels in my body like separation and aloneness. My mind wants to tell me the answer to despair is attachment to someone or something outside of me, and that can be a good and loving God-gift. Today, the prayer also invites me to stand in the channel of God’s peace and reconnect with true hope in things not yet seen but promised as good.

*Prayer of St. Francis, as presented in ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions‘
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. Amen.


NOTES: This is a public forum and comments and questions are always welcome, but please be thoughtful and respectful to the journey for yourself and for others. Please also know that I welcome hearing from you directly about your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions during and after this Christmastide season. www.theresa@theresawyatt.com

On the Fifth Day of Christmas…

#5 in the Christmastide Prayers for Peace Series

Find a quiet place and invite the God of your understanding into this moment and space made sacred by Love. When ready, return to your journal and write the St. Francis Prayer from its beginning and through the next prayer in the series.

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.

In addition to listening to what doubt and faith may stir in your quiet time, you may find a desire to begin memorizing the prayer. I did—especially while driving.

I found myself practicing and saying our prayer from the beginning, “Lord, make me a channel of thy peace…” and adding as much of the prayer that I could recall. I began quizzing myself: what is the answer to hate? What is God’s response to wrong? Oh right, harmony balances discord, and truth answers error.

And then, somewhere along the way, I started seeing and identifying when I was being a bit hateful, or judging someone or something as wrong. Without my permission or design, the negative traits listed in the prayer—those qualities that steal away peace and compromise my wholeness to be and to serve—were announcing themselves in me, by name, more quickly. Only now, I found a readiness to reach for the balancing positive trait that God would have me seek.

Experiencing or acting with a degree of hate?—Call in love.

Seeing wrongs going on around me?—Am I willing to practice the spirit of forgiveness?

Discord?—How might I see harmony in this?

Error? I made a mistake?—Lord, may I answer with truth.

And having doubt? In God? In others? In our world? In myself?—Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where they is doubt, I may bring faith.

The sacred salve of the St. Francis prayer can start showing up in very gentle, practical ways in our daily lives.

Listen to the words in the prayer, and the words inside of you. Write them down. Thank them. And, if there is silence, allow yourself to sit in the familiar comfort of these words of peace.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

FAITH. I used to think I was bad because I had doubt. I used to fear not having enough faith to get into heaven. Three things have helped me tremendously. 1) Reading that Mother Teresa had doubt. 2) The mustard seed. 3) Choose Love.

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”-1 Corinthians 13:12-13 NIV

*Prayer of St. Francis, as presented in ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions‘
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. Amen.


NOTES: This is a public forum and comments and questions are always welcome, but please be thoughtful and respectful to the journey for yourself and for others. Please also know that I welcome hearing from you directly about your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions during and after this Christmastide season. www.theresa@theresawyatt.com

On the Fourth Day of Christmas…

#4 in the Christmastide Prayers for Peace Series

Find a quiet place and invite the God of your understanding into this moment and space made sacred by Love. When ready, return to your journal and write the St. Francis Prayer from its beginning and through the next prayer in the series.

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.

What is error? Who gets to determine something is in error? And, who gets to say what is truth? Do you feel a charge behind either of these words, or do you feel neutrality?

Where do you feel there is error right now, and where do you feel there is truth? When in your life have you assessed error and brought truth? Did that feel differently to you than when you have experienced God bringing truth to error?

Listen to the words in the prayer, and the words inside of you. Write them down. Thank them. And, if there is silence, allow yourself to sit in the familiar comfort of these words of peace.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

ERROR? I heard ‘error’ as ‘mistake.’ And I am not too surprised as I have had a lifelong battle (at least in my head) about making mistakes. Or more to the point – being found out that I made a mistake. Or being discovered that I am a mistake.

Three years into my recovery, instead of spinning in anguish to hide or fix an accounting error without my boss finding out, I went and told him the truth. He wasn’t too pleased. He asked how we could fix it. And then it was done. Over. I walked back to my desk still shaking and wishing it hadn’t happened, but pretty quickly I felt new freedom in simply telling the truth.

I believe the reason I could tell the truth that day was because I had built up enough connection and trust with God to first own my error, and then tell the truth to the right person in a timely manner. I remember that night thanking God for being larger and more loving in my heart than the fear of begin found out. Error is personal but so is truth.

*Prayer of St. Francis, as presented in ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions‘
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. Amen.


NOTES: This is a public forum and comments and questions are always welcome, but please be thoughtful and respectful to the journey for yourself and for others. Please also know that I welcome hearing from you directly about your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions during and after this Christmastide season. www.theresa@theresawyatt.com

 

On the Third Day of Christmas…

#3 in the Christmastide Prayers for Peace Series

Find a quiet place and invite the God of your understanding into this moment and space made sacred by Love.

When ready, return to your journal and write the opening and the first three prayers of the St. Francis Prayer as if they are yours:

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.

By now you probably notice the pattern of how this works. Each day we return to our quiet space, and write the St. Francis Prayer from its beginning and through the next prayer in the series. The focus may be on the newest line of prayer, or, we may feel called to revisit earlier stanzas. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

In the following posts, I will speak less to the “how” to do it, and more to encouraging you to slow down and notice what bubbles up as personal patterns or invitations. For example, our prayer begins with asking to be made a channel of God’s peace, then quickly moves on to list a series of specific real-world human reactions that disrupt peace – mine and others! With each human trait or condition of dis-ease, a counterbalance of God’s love is offered.

Hatred to love. Wrong to the spirit of forgiveness. Discord to harmony.

This series of human reactions and God’s answers will continue for five more stanzas and five more days. In this time you may want to watch for what reactions, or character traits, are impeding your peace. You may be nudged to notice a natural pattern emerging and pulled to do an inventory. Or, to continue sitting and listening for what new meanings you feel coming up from old words.

Listen to the words in the prayer, and the words inside of you. Write them down. Thank them. And, if there is silence, allow yourself to sit in the familiar comfort of these words of peace.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

HARMONY. I was moved to consider what I believe the nature of harmony to be, then reminded of the orchestra warm-up—that cascading sound of the same note being repeatedly played by different instruments to achieve true concert pitch before the performance. It is an eerie sound. A loud sound. But it is not harmony. Harmony happens when different notes are arranged and played together.

This theoretical understanding gets real and personal when I think of how I sometimes hear discord as differences. How I try, at times, to rid myself of discord by wishing away differences, or wanting everyone and everything to be the same – or the same as me. But harmony is not a result of smoothing out all of our differences to a flat plane of same. Harmony happens when our differences are well played together.

*Prayer of St. Francis, as presented in ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions‘
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. Amen.


NOTES: This is a public forum and comments and questions are always welcome, but please be thoughtful and respectful to the journey for yourself and for others. Please also know that I welcome hearing from you directly about your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions during and after this Christmastide season. www.theresa@theresawyatt.com

On the Second Day of Christmas…

#2 in the Christmastide Prayers for Peace Series

Find a quiet place and invite the God of your understanding into this moment and space made sacred by Love.

When ready, return to your journal and write the opening and continue through the first two prayers of the St. Francis Prayer as if they are yours:

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.

Again, let the words seep in. Notice with your soul’s sense how you hear the word “wrong”. Notice too if any particular people, situations, decisions, or conditions sneak into your gut as being “wrong” right now.

You may want to practice writing today’s prayer as a continuation of the opening, for example: Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness.

Does this slight edit more directly connect the wrongs we see – to – God’s channel of peace? Does this help me to hear and remember that it is in being God’s channel of peace that I might find God’s answers for wrongs?

Take time to listen to your soul. You may also be invited to notice—with loving attention and care—what you might feel, react to, or reject as God’s healings of wrongs.

Listen to the words on the page, and the words inside of you. Write them down. Thank them. And, as always, if there is silence, allow yourself to sit in the familiar comfort of these words of peace.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

SPIRIT OF FORGIVENESS. Not “Forgive them.” Not “Forgive me.” But rather, THE SPIRIT of forgiveness is what I might hope to find if I am willing to stand in the channel of God’s peace.

Isn’t it odd? In all of my readings and recitals of this prayer, never before have I heard or seen, connected with or celebrated, THE SPIRIT of forgiveness. I found this (seemingly) newly inserted word curious. I explored who, or what I currently felt was wrong in me or this world. And, I asked myself:

If I am not fully ready to forgive — am I willing to enter into the SPIRIT of forgiveness? Maybe, I answered, and was reminded of a friend being asked, “Are you willing to be willing?”

*Prayer of St. Francis, as presented in ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions‘
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. Amen.


NOTES: This is a public forum and comments and questions are always welcome, but please be thoughtful and respectful to the journey for yourself and for others. Please also know that I welcome hearing from you directly about your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions during and after this Christmastide season. www.theresa@theresawyatt.com

On The First Day of Christmas…

#1 in the Christmastide Prayers for Peace Series

Find a quiet place and invite the God of your understanding into this moment and space made sacred by Love.

When ready, read the entire St. Francis Prayer* slowly. Deliberately. But also without any should’s or prejudice. Just read the words attributed to St. Francis, and sought by so many as a path of peace. (The Prayer in its entirety is located at the end of each post for easy reference.)

Next, write the first prayer as it begins, and as it is yours:

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace – that where there is hatred, I may bring love.

Let the words seep in. Notice what is struck or poked as a thought or a feeling.

Pay attention to which phrase or word, if any, jumps out to you as if in BOLD or appearing where it never was before! Or, what words want to hide from you in denial, misunderstanding, regret, or refusal?

Take time to listen to your soul and write about these notices/feelings/emotions/questions. Listen to the words on the page, and the words inside of you. Write them down. Thank them.

And, if there is silence, allow yourself to sit in the familiar comfort of these words of peace.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

CHANNEL. That is the word that leapt from the old prayer as new. Behind it followed conduit, carrier, courier, and child. I saw with new eyes that I am not the originator of peace – mine, or God’s, or the world’s. I noticed too the humility of standing before God, heart open and asking, “Lord, make me a channel of thy peace.”

I reasoned and reckoned that there are times when THY peace may not be what I believe MY peace should look like. I considered: Is that okay with me? And, after a time, I was able to answer – at least in theory and from the safety of my morning couch – Yes. I want to be made a channel, a conduit, a carrier, a courier, a child of God’s peace. And trust, as I can, that this kind of peace won’t restrict or deny me what I believe to be joy.

*Prayer of St. Francis, as presented in ‘Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions‘
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. Amen.


PLEASE NOTE: This is a public forum and comments and questions are always welcomed, but please be thoughtful and respectful to the journey for yourself and for others. Please also know that I welcome hearing from you directly about your thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions during and after this Christmastide season. www.theresa@theresawyatt.com