Endigar 614 ~ A Classic Prayer

From the Daily Reflections of November 21;

Lord, make me a channel for 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.   (Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 99)

No matter where I am in my spiritual growth, the St. Francis prayer helps me improve my conscious contact with the God of my understanding. I think that one of the great advantages of my faith in God is that I do not understand Him, or Her, or It. It may be that my relationship with my Higher Power is so fruitful that I do not have to understand. All that I am certain of is that if I work the Eleventh Step regularly, as best I can, I will continue to improve my conscious contact, I will know His will for me, and I will have the power to carry it out.





Saint Francis of Assisi, the Patron Saint of Animals and Ecology

This prayer entered the collective conscious in 1912 as “A Beautiful Prayer to Say During Mass.”  It was published anonymously and scholars suspect that it was written by a French priest, Father Esther Bouquerel (1855-1923), who was responsible for the publication and ministry that presented it to the people of his generation.  In 1915, after World War I had begun, the prayer was sent to the Pope and the next year it was published in Italian in the Vatican’s daily newspaper.  After World War I, a French Franciscan priest printed the prayer on the back of an image of St. Francis and circulated it, thus loosely associating it with the life of Francis. After the Great War, a French Protestant movement called the Knights of the Prince of Peace decided in 1927 to tightly bind the prayer to a Christian saint know for his pacifism.  So they told the world it was written by St. Francis in 1927.  Benito Mussolini became a fascist dictator in Italy in 1925.  Adolph Hitler had participated in a failed coup in Munich, was imprisoned, which gave him the time and opportunity to write Mein Kampf to be published in 1925.  In 1940, Hitler conquered France.  The prayer came out of a historical crucible of war.

St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1181 and Genghis Khan was born approximately 1162.  The Saint died in 1226 and the Khan died in 1227.  Both men believed they had a calling by their God.  One to build up a church and the other to expand an empire.  My Gomu (God of my understanding) is inspiration both to the beloved pacifist Christian shaman and the feared Mongol conqueror.

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

(The Tyger – William Blake)

This prayer is basically a poetic expression of a petition being made to God that is a familiar cry of the recovering alcoholic; “please let me be apart of the solution rather than the problem.” For me, it is like spiritual marijuana.  It feels good reciting it, but it does not really give me any meat hooks to hold spiritual substance in my spiritual pursuit.  It is the steps of AA that give it the necessary pragmatic substance.  If it works for you, please use it.

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