The famed “Prayer of St. Francis” (see below) may or may not have been writ by the great Saint of Assisi himself. But it certainly captures his spirit and his theology, and he certainly would be cool with it. I keep it magnetized on my refrigerator door. I keep it in my wallet. I keep book markers with the prayer on it. I try to internalize it and to keep it on my mind and my heart at all times.
I’ve posted it before here at the blawg that is saving the world–and probably posted it a few times. But it’s the perfect prayer, and one that I memorized a long time ago, and one that I try to live by.
And try and try to live by. A Christian committed to Christian discipleship tries to please God and all too often fails, but picks himself up and tries again, bolstered by God’s amazing grace.
Being a God loving, Christ loving Christian–really being a Christian disciple–is the toughest challenge in life there is. It’s demanding and difficult. It’s a hard way to slug through life sometimes, especially if you don’t stay spiritually fit like those physically fit folk that you see pounding the bike and running trails in order to stay physically fit. You need only to spend quiet, serious time with God to build spiritual endurance, but it does take real time and commitment. The payoff is joy and contentment in the life of Christ when times are good, and strength, in the best sense of the word “strength,” when times are scary and hard.
Being in top spiritual condition requires the kind of time and commitment that physical fitness requires. Attending church, or rushing through a scripture and a devotional while swallowing down donuts and coffee for five minutes each morning, does not a spiritually fit Christian make.
It’s so much easier to be a lazy Christian–a Sunday morning Christian who doesn’t want to make the commitment to being the 24/7 Christian disciple that Christ commanded and demanded that his followers to be. It’s so much easier to be a part-time Christian, or to go through life as a non-believer, or even a heathen, or even the world’s biggest jerk–one who cares wholly and completely about himself and those closest to him first.
Christians are just as broken up and broken down as everybody else. We’re all broken, violence-prone people stuck in a broken and noisy and violent world, all in need of God’s love and grace and tender mercies. The Good News is that God is all about love, grace and tender mercies, as students of the Bible–and that includes students of the often harsh sounding Old Testament–very well know.
Christianity needs more full-time Christians and has no need at all, really, of part-time Christians who talk the talk but walk like everybody else in the dawg-eat-dawg world.
There’s never a shortage of people to call on in the part-time Christian labor pool.
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.”
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