Now, let’s ask ourselves the question: how can we fund and provide support for the babies and families where fathers deny/leave without responsibility?
How can we fund and support young mothers and their child who experience delivering a special needs baby, or, generational poverty or are not resourced by family or personal means? How are we to encourage adoption of infants and older American children in need of homes? How can we fund and up our support for mental and educational help for those who are raped by strangers or worse family or friends? (I know this happens…it happened to me at knife-point when I was 27 and a complete stranger broke into my house in the middle of the night. It was the knife or rape. I chose rape.)
This question has followed me around all of my days, but today, “this” is the answer that I want to become better at accepting.
This place. This moment. This feeling. This body.
It seems that I don’t get to say what God’s will is for others even as I sometimes try to control or wrangle or direct. But today, one grace-filled nano-second at a time, I want to practice trusting that God’s will for me is in the holy now of This.
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 – 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.
I have come to know this final series as God’s How Prayer—trusting God’s promise to show me how to wake up to Eternal Life.
Yes, I know. I am breaking rank and presenting the 12th Prayer for Peace as three prayers in one. I admit to wanting to fit our contemplative walk with the Prayer of St. Francis into twelve days. But there is also no denying the powerhouse this final sequence becomes when read as a whole.
Every time—every single time—I enter this final series of the St. Francis Prayer, I am rocked with emotion and held by a Love larger than thinking, space, or time. Whether prayed in silence or shared in communal recitation with others, landing on the miracle of eternal life through dying strikes truly, deeply, purely to my deepest fears and hopes. And sometimes, I am moved to see “dying” as an invitation to look at, and let go of, what no longer may be life giving.
For example, what spiritual deaths, or dark nights of the soul, have I experienced? Or I am experiencing right now?
What emotional deaths—dying to the smaller self of ego—have I fought or allowed? And, what has been on ‘the other side’ of dying to these old ways, thoughts, or conditions?
I imagine about now you may be feeling many emotions that can not be neatly packed into one last journey entry. So, let’s pull back a moment to where we have been in our contemplative walk over these past twelve days, and where we are now on the eve of Epiphany
Epiphany is the day the three wise men presented their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the baby Jesus. The word Epiphany comes from the Greek, meaning “manifestation” or “to reveal”—in this case, the manifestation of Christ to the Magi (the three kings). So I wonder, can we pause and reflect on both the small and big gifts we have accepted over the past twelve days—or twelve months? And, in the spirit of the St. Francis Prayer, can we consider what gifts of peace we may want to bring to others?
I hope you have found a new and more intimate relationship with this experience of the St. Francis Prayer. I have enjoyed sharing these days with you and look forward to hearing from you if you get a chance.
A dear friend shared this version of the Prayer of St. Francis, as sung by Sarah McLachlan. With this, I stand and sing with you in the hope of God’s peace, and with my love.
And, one last time—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.
*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. firstname.lastname@example.org