No, I’m not Catholic, but the Prayer of St. Francis is well worth meditating on each day for anyone – This is how things really work. Instead of looking to others to make you feel better, be that to another! If you don’t like hearing it from a Christian perspective, then Gandhi said it like this (or so he is quoted) “Be the change that you want to see.” It’s essential perennial Wisdom. It’s “Metaphysics 101”.
The universe operates on a system of sowing and reaping, the opposite of what’s promoted in the cult of self. No seeds, no harvest. Doesn’t matter how much “energy” you throw at it, or thought, or force-effort you give it. No seeds, no harvest – that simple.
So here’s Francis’ prayer. Try it on for size if you dare.
“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.”
Jesus even challenges us to stretch to its radical end – “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:43-48 KJV)
God (“Daddy”, the Father of our spirit, our innermost being) is perfect Love. This is what His Love looks like – the outflow of perpetual grace toward all. This Love gives and puts forth and never looks to its own ways to be satisfied. It forgets that it even has or is a “self”!
No, I’m sure not perfect at that, but the key is awareness of our lack (our spiritual poverty), and then perpetually asking, seeking, and knocking (so as to be filled with the Holy Spirit) that more and more I will look like Daddy, and then – like my Elder Brother Christ Jesus – when they see me, they will see the Father, with the goal in mind “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ“. (Ephesians 4:13 KJV)
Just me, preachin’ to the choir…
If you want to reap, you have to sow.