In the wake of the horrific and senseless violence of this week — the loss of more innocent life at the hands of hatred, fear, and guns — but really the pattern of intolerance that has plagued our country for too long, I find myself asking, What can I do?
Without question, this is a time for positive action. Ghandi said, “You can only practice non-violence in violence.” Peace is not a passive practice. Standing up for peace — choosing peace in the face of violence — is a very active and often challenging exercise in love.
So I ask myself, How can I become an instrument of peace? Where do I harbor hatred within myself or towards others? When, and of whom or what, am I intolerant? Where do I create unnecessary tension within myself or my relationships? Where I am I aggressive in my own thoughts, words, or actions? How can I promote peace in my community, or inspire peace through the vehicle of my own life, or spread peace through service?
One of my best friends shared the prayer of St. Francis in her response to the heartbreak of this week and I have found it to be invaluable. I wanted to share it with you.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy 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, grand 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 the giving that we receive;
it is in the pardoning that we are pardoned;
it is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life.
Om shanti, shanti, shanti.