Meditating on St. Francis of Assisi

Photo courtesy of Ron Dove

Photo courtesy of Ron Dove

“Oh Lord, make me the instrument of thy Peace! Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is discord, harmony. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light, and where there is sorrow, 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.” – The Meditation Bible by Madonna Gauding

When I began my spiritual journey, I was just a child of seven or eight years of age. It was my third visit to a Vacation Bible School held at my grandparents Baptist Church. I had always enjoyed those events. There were fun activities, plenty of snacks and ice cream, and compelling stories like Jonah and the Whale and David and Goliath. But, when it came time for the benediction, I could not grasp the salvation message. I just knew that I did not want to go to Hell. I wanted to be a part of something bigger and better than any of the rest of us.

Years later, while I was in high school, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior; with complete understanding, humbled spirit and a heart open to trusting, loving, and forgiving. Sometimes, I miss those days. My innocence of the world protected my faith which was held firm in God.

Even now, with the knowledge of other religions, I hold onto that faith. I shed a tear when I think of the sacrifices that were made, and my heart still fills with joy at the mention of Christ’s birth. However, I don’t agree with everything that entails the Christian doctrine which has become misrepresented over the years. But, its core values still remain strong and have proven itself time and time, again.

Love and forgiveness.

It is hard to remember to love and forgive when it is so easy to spite and toss aside. I was thankful to read the St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer. It was a simple reminder of the compassionate person that I hope to be. I longed for it in my youth, and I continue to seek it out. It amazes me to see that my prayers have been about fulfilling my needs instead of focusing on praying for others. I had forgotten how to do that. I simply avoided prayer until I was in tears and begging on my hands and knees for my own miserable existence. How can I be compassionate if I do not take others with me in prayer?

This was an eye-opening meditation. Christianity teaches compassion for others through prayer and good deeds, just as the Wiccan Rede teaches compassion for others through sending out positive thoughts, performing rituals, and conducting oneself in good deeds. Today, I learned to focus less on myself and more on others. I need to find ways to help those who are much less fortunate than me.

“Oh Lord, make me the instrument of thy Peace!”

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