I first learned this prayer in fifth grade. I went to a Catholic school, but this particular teacher was Methodist (I think). Even so, she loved St. Francis. Every class prayed before dismissal for the day. While, my middle school teacher always prayed for our safe travels (I shared that prayer in a previous post; It was a short and sweet prayer; super easy to memorize and one my entire family still uses today), Mrs H chose another route… a longer one. I think it took us about a month to memorize it as a class. Even so, I’m grateful she required it of us. My eleven year old self had no idea at the time, but this prayer would become fixed in my own prayer life when I was going through difficult circumstances with difficult people later in life.
Part of me used to hate the second half of the prayer… the part in which it seemed like I was giving up gifts of grace and consolation, but I prayed it anyway. I found that by praying it in humility… in my willingness to let go of my wants and needs (even if it didn’t feel that way)… I was empty enough to see that I was still full… full of lasting contentment and peace.
Lord, make me an instrument of your 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;
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.