After working at the New Spirit Festival on the weekend I was contemplating what it means to be spiritual and I kept hearing the prayer of St Francis in my head. When I look out into the world at the moment there is so much fear and it appears like there are more problems than solutions and it can make you feel a little helpless. But what if there was a path you could walk that would bring love to counteract fear…there is.
The Prayer of St Francis -
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;
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.
Whether you are religious or not there is great wisdom in the prayer of St Francis, wisdom that in many ways has been lost. So what is he saying here and how can it apply to your life? Well firstly he is talking about what you can give to life rather than what you can get from it. Like a Course in Miracles suggests, we can only experience that which we give.
I often listen to the song version of the prayer of St Francis while getting ready in the morning as a way to start my day in a place of service. It re-minds me that if I wish to experience peace, love, hope, light, faith and joy then I must first be those things. Rather than asking that your life be more peaceful, ask that you might be a channel for peace. That you might bring joy where there is sadness, that you might bring light to darkness, hope to despair.
There is a song by John Mayer where he sings:
“It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change”
Most people are waiting for things to change, but you are the change. You need to be the change not just stand there and wish for it.
St Francis was ridiculed everywhere he went with his message but he made a difference and his message survives for us today. People ask me all the time what their life purpose is and I tell them – to love and to serve. Ask yourself daily, what can I do to make a difference? Look for daily opportunities to be peace, to give love, to forgive, to bring joy. It might be as simple as smiling at someone on the street, or letting someone into your lane on the motorway.
I heard Dr Wayne Dyer (best selling author and lecturer) suggest that the three hardest things to do are to send love in response to hate, to defend the absent and to admit when you are wrong. Imagine the changes on the planet if we all made the effort to do those things. To take responsibility for our lives and make them meaningful so that we might leave this planet better than when we got here.
‘It is in dying that we are born to Eternal life’ means dying to ourselves, releasing our ego tendencies and re-membering who we are. You cannot feel bad about yourself, depressed or unwell when you are giving for the purpose of giving, when you allow yourself to be used for a higher purpose. The purpose of service is not about being acknowledged, but rather because it is the highest path you can take.
Mother Teresa got it right with this:
Do It Anyway
(Sign In Mother Teresa's Office)
People are unreasonable,
illogical, and self-centered,
LOVE THEM ANYWAY
If you do good, people will
accuse you of selfish,
DO GOOD ANYWAY
If you are successful, you win
false friends and true enemies,
The good you do will
be forgotten tomorrow,
DO GOOD ANYWAY
Honesty and frankness
make you vulnerable,
BE HONEST AND FRANK ANYWAY
What you spent years building
may be destroyed overnight,
People really need help but
may attack you if you help them,
HELP PEOPLE ANYWAY
Give the world the best you
have and you'll get kicked
in the teeth,
GIVE THE WORLD THE BEST YOU'VE GOT ANYWAY.
Walking a spiritual path or the path of the higher self is about seeing the world through the soul’s eye and acting according to the highest within you. Remember the word’s of St Francis and Mother Teresa and choose today to be a vessel for love and service, you will not regret it.
Have a wonderful day.
Love and blessings to you all