I have always loved “The Prayer of Saint Francis.” To me, it contains the heart of the gospel message. So imagine my surprise a few years ago when a sung version of the prayer was featured in the closing minutes of the series finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This version, sung by Sarah McLachlan, is nearly perfect in capturing the prayer’s essence. Her voice and the musical arrangement complement the words rather than detract from them.
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.
“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven. We have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity. We have grown in numbers, wealth and power, as no other nation has ever grown.
But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.
Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to God that made us! It behooves us, then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness.”
Abraham Lincoln, Proclamation for a National Day of Fasting, Humiliation and Prayer, April 30, 1863
Having a hard time forgiving someone. Many of us do. Maybe this prayer will help.