Before I am misunderstood let me say this: Do Not Sin.
To sin is never the objective of any Christian, yet, if you would be closer to God become a sinner. In other words, begin by realizing what is the condition of each and every person.
Once we realize ourselves as sinners, we can then hear the call of Jesus. Jesus came to call the sinner. Jesus dined with sinners. Jesus spoke with sinners near wells, in the streets, on the hillsides, among the tombs, wherever the sinful, the sick, the dispirited, the broken, and even the crucified were, you could find Jesus suffering with them and leading them home to God. After all, the healthy have no need of a physician.
If you think yourself pure, if you think yourself healthy, why would you need Jesus? It is not that Jesus is not interested in you, it is you saying : I don’t need Jesus.
Had you asked him, Saint Francis of Assisi would have identified himself as the worst sinner, yet, in the prayer attributed to him He presumes to ask God to make him an instrument of God’s peace. The prayer has at least these two dimensions. The first dimension being what Francis wanted to bring to the world. The second dimension being on how the worst sinner might do this. It is on the second dimension I will focus.
Make me. O Lord, an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
This is a prayer of personal conversion. Sowing the seed of love wherever we find hatred, prejudice, self-entitlement, etc. within ourselves. To learn to love fully each person. Especially if that person disgusts you. Of course we include enemies, but we can respect our enemies, even to some degree envy them, but those who repulse us, disgust us, these are the ones we need to learn to love. We, like Saint Francis, must learn to kiss and wash the leper. Can we embrace the crying drunk who has just thrown up and urinated on himself? Can we share a meal with a junky covered with scabs? It is easy to give a homeless person ten dollars for a meal, but can you sit and eat with him? I ask myself, am I able to invite a homeless person to lunch rather than just give them the money to buy one? I can’t. I can barely bring myself to shake hands with a stranger–like the apprehension of shaking the hand of the person behind you in church when you have heard them blowing and wiping their nose through the first half of the Mass. Can I sow love within myself and thus become a seed in the world?
Where there is injury, let me sow pardon.
Can I sow the seed of forgiveness within myself? Can I forgive not only those who have hurt me, but those who will hurt me? Can I forgive a person as they are hurting me? Can my forgiveness be a forgone conclusion? Can I be so in love with God that a person planning to hurt me can rest assured I will forgive them? Is this not what I ask of God? Can I be God’s instrument in this manner?
Where there is doubt, let me sow faith.
Do I live a life of “God is for salvation and money is for everything else”? Or can I be down to my last dollar and rejoice! Do I sleep soundly not knowing if I’ll have enough money for the electric bill? If we are instruments of God are we willing to risk not having money for the electric bill in order to pay another person’s power bill? I am not that strong in my faith, so unlike the widow who gave her two mites, I give out of my abundance. I secure all my needs (and a little extra) and then I dole out the remainder. I minimize my struggle with doubt, but relying on what I have accumulated. I seem to trust God most when I have no need to rely on Him for the necessities of this world. What is the nature of this manner of faith? I have faith where no faith is needed. To phrase it in an extreme manner: Would I bet my life on God to provide for me when I have left myself with nothing in order to provide for another? Do I doubt?
Where there is darkness, let me sow light.
This is lighting a candle in my own heart for the sole purpose of seeing which parts of myself attempt to slip into the shadow so as not to be brought to the light of truth. This is the challenge to light candle after candle in my own soul so that there is no longer any shadow in which to hide. If I face the light, I can no longer see the shadow in which to hide. The more one turns from the light, the more shadow one sees. When one turns fully from the light all one sees is shadow. Make no mistake, the light of truth is still there, the light of truth still shines upon us and yet we dwell in darkness. We must turn into the light and let it reflect from us, reflect from and pass through our eyes. In this, our eye will be good and we will be filled with light, but if the eye be dark how great is that darkness.
Were there is despair, let me sow hope.
To live a hopeful life within ourselves. To dispel all cynicism and skepticism about God. To write off no person as evil and beyond redemption. To feel the power of God as being real, transformative, liberating. to know that when all is truly lost, God is there. To shed all fear of failure, abandonment, poverty, all things, including death and know that God will always bring good out of all things good and bad. To know in mind, body, and soul that God, who is love, holds us in being and creates all things anew in each passing moment.
Where the is sadness, let me sow joy.
I fancy my sorrows to be real and not fabricated by my disappointment with what I think should be, rather than being thankful for what is? How can I go to another in their sorrow unless I find joy in my own suffering? This is not Polly Anna, this is the reality of trusting God to arrange all things for the good. May I, like the Blessed Virgin Mary, at all times, even when circumstance has rendered an uncertain and insecure future, proclaim: My soul doth magnify the LORD! and my spirit REJOICES in GOD MY SAVIOUR! Mary was the Mother of Sorrows this is true, but Mary, also, ever rejoiced in the Lord. O most Beautiful and Blessed Mother Mary, lay the infant Jesus as a seed of love and joy in the poor manger that is my heart. When there is no room at the inn, know that there is ever room for you and your Most Holy Son, Jesus in me. Please come into my spirit and give birth to Our Saviour, the Lord and Redeemer Christ Jesus.
O Divine Master, grant that I not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus we beg you, through the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary, allow us to fully understand, fully know that it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born to eternal life, for it is in these truths we find love, pardon, faith, light, hope, and joy.
May Almighty God bless you; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
(C) Copyright 17 November 2018