Welcome to our first ever Prayer Breakdown! Sometimes when we pray we can lose sight of what the prayer stands for. In the repetition we miss the deeper meaning that brings beauty to the prayer. That is what brought me to mind to start a regular posting titled Prayer Breakdown that will help us to delve deeper into the meaning of a prayer instead of just saying the words.
We’ll start with one that is well known, the Saint Francis 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 doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; 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; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace
What a powerful way to start a beautiful prayer. Through this we are asking God to make us an instrument of His peace. We should all strive to be instruments of God, to be His people on earth. God’s greatest commandment, told to us by Jesus, is love. When you are peaceful you are filled with love. I think we can look a bit deeper and know that when we are filled with the Lords peace we want to save as many souls as we can while maintaining our Catholic Christian identity. We don’t want to be instruments of the world we want to be instruments of God.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith
Sowing is something done by farmers to plant their crops for a new harvest; appropriately used in this prayer. We are asking to be used as instruments of God to spread His will throughout the world. We want to sow love where these is hatred. Like I said before, when we are full of the Lords peace we are filled with love. When we see hatred we want to give people Gods love in order to bring them to the light of Christ. This can only be done if we are willing to be instruments for God. Where there is injury pardon. This can of course mean physical injury but it could also mean emotional injury as well. How many times has someone said something mean to you? How many times have you gotten into a fight with someone? Instead of seething in deep seeded hatred, sow pardon by forgiving them. If they don’t ask for forgiveness, still give them forgiveness. Where there is doubt, faith. This is a big one because when people have doubt they are not fully experiencing God’s love. We live in a world where there has to be physical proof for everything. God is much bigger than needing to provide physical proof to His existence, He sent us His son. It is up to us to preach to the nonbelievers and the hardened hearts to bring God to them.
Where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Despair is the complete absence of hope, Jesus is hope! If we feel despair then we are denying Christ and His message to us. As followers of Christ we have to sow the seeds in others to feel the hope of Christ. Where there is darkness, light. This world is filled with darkness but by living the life that Christ has for us and living His message we can being light to this world. Again, if we give ourselves to God to be used as instruments of His peace then we are adding to the light in the world and taking away the darkness of the evil one. Where there is sadness, joy. Jesus is joy! If people knew that and completely understood how much God loves us, it would take away the sadness in their heart.
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
It is important if we want to be instruments of God to be just like He is and God is not selfish; He gave us His Son and Jesus died for us. We are unworthy, yet He saw us as worth of such an enormous sacrifice. So we have to put others first before ourselves. That I may not so much seek to consoled as to console. That I will console others before myself, that I will understand before I am understood and I would rather fill my heart with than to get that love in return. For what we do for others, God does for us! When we console others, God consoles us; God understands us better than we even understand and God loves us more than we can ever imagine.
For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life
It is giving selflessly that we return what we gave. Now, this does not necssarly mean that if you donate $100 you will be getting that back – that would be defeating the purpose. When we give, we receive the graces of eternal life. When we give, simply to help someone out of the depth of our hearts then we get grace return. When we pardon others for their transgressions against us, then we will receive that same mercy. The prayers ends as beautifully as it started, it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. We are living in this world to make ourselves worthy to enter Heaven and spend eternity with Jesus! The things mentioned in this prayer by Saint Francis are what will help us to become worthy to be in the same Heaven as God and Jesus Christ. We have to sow the seeds of our faith in order to make other souls as well as ourselves worthy of eternal life.
I hope you enjoyed this first Prayer Breakdown! This is one (of many!) favorite prayers that I have!