One of my favorite prayers is the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi: “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.”
Saint Francis of Assisi was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher who was born in 1181 or 1182 and was most known to be the beloved Patron Saint of Animals. I admit that I am not very knowledgeable about Catholic Saints, but I do respect them because of what they mean to so many. And because I love animals so much, St. Francis has become a favorite of mine. I also hold the above prayer dear to my heart because it says so much and is a great prayer to try to live by. If only more of us in the world could live by these words.
We’re seeing so much discord in the world right now, and there is so much attention on the negative. Hate, bigotry, and discord appears to be so much of the focus of the media, especially in today’s day and times, and yet there are so many wonderful things occurring in our world, but we just don’t hear about them. I Googled “good news websites” and came up with countless sites that report the good that people are doing across the world; stories of people who are going out of their way to help others out of love and compassion. Just one site had stories such as “Teen Rescues Woman from Fire,” “Man Honored for Saving Hero Who Pulled Him from Fire,” “Man Plunges into Frozen Lake to Save Boy,” and on and on it goes of one feel-good story after another. Why aren’t these the stories that are focused on in the news? Is it because people are more interested in seeing the negative? Is it any wonder then why there appears to be so much negativity happening in our lives, our country, and the world?
Personally, I don’t watch the news and I try not to read the negative articles in the paper or on the computer. Some will say that I’m not facing reality and ask how will I know what’s going on in the world? For reality, I make my own reality. As in the Prayer of Saint Francis, I choose to sow love, to pardon, to build my faith, to have hope, to let my light shine, and to feel joy. I choose to try to console and to understand. As for knowing what’s going on in the world? I choose to focus on the good that so many are doing. I choose to focus on the laughter of a child, the beauty of nature, the kindness of friends and strangers, and all the blessings that I can count every single day. And if something big happens in the news? Trust me, someone will let me know. Besides, I can’t worry about something I have no control over (though that doesn’t mean I don’t care).
St. Francis also said, “No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.” We reap what we sow. Everything we say, do, and think will come back to us in some way, shape, or form. If you want to see change in the world, we need to first change ourselves. Michael Jackson sang, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways, And no message could have been any clearer, If you wanna make the world a better place, Take a look at yourself and then make a change.” Or as Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Therefore, my friends, how do we want our lives to be? How do we want our world to be? Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Thoughts and words have power. Choose them wisely. (If you’d like a free download of James Allens’ “As A Man Thinketh” book, please go to: http://www.asamanthinketh.net/.)