by Bishop Paul J. Swain – 8/1/2016
Recent events at home and abroad have left many bewildered and dispirited. The bold acts of violence, division among peoples, harsh rhetoric and lack of respect for one another seems overwhelming. How are we to cope and live with hope in the midst of such tragedy and uncertainty?
Much is beyond our personal control of course. Thus we pray that our leaders will be granted the wisdom, patience and perseverance that will lead to more peaceful ways to resolve differences using just, fair and respectful means. That is what our system of law is charged to do. Yet this constant churning affects us all.
There are three sources of consolation that can help us during such stressful times. They include prayer, understanding today’s reality as it truly is, and living Gospel values in our daily lives whatever is swirling around us.
The Prayer of Saint Francis offers us guidance and mission.
“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.”
For some this plea seems simplistic or impossible to achieve so grave are the times and the impact of our fallen human nature. The most important word in this prayer is the first one: “Lord”. We need to strengthen our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, our Lord, to even begin to become his instrument of peace. When we are separated from Jesus even unintentionally the evil one plays to our weaknesses, raises doubts and seeks for us to despair.
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