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

4 thoughts on “On the Third Day of Christmas…

  1. Remembering the harmonious life of Desmond Tutu, he demonstrated how harmony transcends trauma when we adopt a wider perspective of humanity and the universe. We can be intentional about bringing that broader perspective into our relationships.

  2. Your conversation starter using the contrast was interesting. That alignment with “A” is jarring, makes my nerves twitter. I love a good Barbershop quartet – the baritone is all over the place. But that first unnerving alignment is critical, the foundation for the jumping off places and then the collaboration. So I am reminded to sync with God before sounding my instrument.

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