Journey with FMS this Lent as we pray and reflect on the famous Franciscan peace prayer. On Mondays and Fridays, we will share mission stories that correspond with the petitions of the prayer.

Lord make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And 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,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. 

“Praying and reflecting upon the Peace Prayer shine a light into the deep recesses of the soul,” says Albert Haase, OFM in his book Reflection on the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi.

“The prayer reveals how our pride sometimes hides behind the best of intentions and has wrapped its tentacles around our decisions, feelings and relationships. It challenges us to break free from the mirror ‘me’ and focus our attention through the window of the ‘thee,’ thus looking outward and response to the voices of those who are angry, injured, confused and sad. The prayer also exposes how we defensively seek to be justified and understood, how self-pity insists upon consolation and love.”

In his book, Haase reminds us that there are people in the world without peace because they lack the financial, physical or mental abilities that ensure a life free from anxiety, worry and despair.  Because of their circumstances, they are treated as second-class citizens with no voice, legitimacy or influence.

For more than 20 years, we have helped missioners walk in solidarity with these people: the marginalized of society, the alienated of the community, the oppressed of the world.

We hope that sharing their stories this season will help us all turn our attention outward, toward others, so we may become true instruments of peace. “The legacy of Easter peace,” says Haase. “Must seep deep down to the very roots of conflict and dissension: hatred, injury, doubt, despair, darkness and sadness – all experiences which suggest a life centered upon ‘me.'”

As we pray, fast and give alms this season, let it draw us closer to our brothers and sisters across the globe.
 
“Jesus lived in solidarity with us and showed us how to be compassionate: his desire for each of us to be compassionate with one another,” wrote Joseph Vorstermans in Living with Christ. “May this Lent be our time to walk with Jesus to the cross and walk in solidarity with all those who are oppressed and brokenhearted.”

Check back tomorrow for our first mission story and the second line of the prayer, “Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”