Monday, 9 July 2018

Know Self - Know Peace

The Francis of Assisi prayer begins:

"Lord make me an instrument of your peace"

I have also so seen: "My Creator make me an instrument of your peace"

"Make me an instrument of your peace" 

It does change the context choosing different wording. Francis was doing his utmost to emulate and live life, as Jesus did - so he may well have been addressing Jesus (as Lord). Choosing "Creator" would imply one is petitioning "God." It is not the scope of this post, to dwell in the discussion around, specifying the nature of the divine (or what it is called).

So what is it that is being asked for here. I would say it suggests that "God," is the source of the ultimate peace. This line of the prayer (if I'm praying sincerely) is my asking, to not just receive the "peace of God," but to be the conveyor, (instrument) of that peace.

It doesn't mean I'm special or uniquely qualified to do so. I believe every human being has the choice to know and deliver (through the use of their unique gifts) the peace of God here on earth. It is necessary to ask to do so - because we have free will. I can choose not to, (God knows why, pun intended) it's pretty easy to understand I'd be better off, "at peace." But God is not going to force my hand. That would be more along the lines of how some of the countries in the world operate, when acting out their political agendas (i.e. they claim to be ushering in peace, but they do it at the end of a rifle; not to mention all the other armaments of modern warfare). That is human will. Harnessing the greatest innovative minds, to create weapons to orchestrate human greed, power lust (illusory power), vindictiveness, hostility, aggression, revenge.

Take away the implements of modern war, and all those same motivations for war, existed in the time of Francis of Assisi. He in fact sought to be a knight before his conversion experience. So it seems to me, in that light, humans can choose to be instruments of destruction, or of peace. (Their own or they can take their agendas further afield).

So whether I pray to the God of religion or to some higher aspect of myself - I know from my experience; that I won't find peace at the level of my mind; which is frequently, the source of my agitation.

I don't have the inside track to knowledge of God. I don't know to what degree God can or would intervene directly in the matters of humanity. I suspect that humans themselves, are meant to be the "hands & legs" of God. We can make heaven on earth for ourselves or hell. I have ample examples of doing both in my life. And I have participated in the creation of both in the lives of others.

Gandhi said, "we must be the change we wish to see in the world." I'm frequently reminded of this, when I'm experiencing some wave of "growing pains." I can't very well be an instrument of peace, if I'm the embodiment of internal strife. So then, it should come to me as no surprise; if I go about praying to be "made" and instrument of peace, then it's going to become the catalyst to my dealing with whatever it is, within my inner world, that is preventing peace. It should come as no surprise, but it often does! The thing is I can pray all forms of prayer... but that doesn't mean, I'll be privy to or have control of, what plays out in my life to address (or point out) the need for change.

So then the "path to peace" might not always feel like peace - or as the saying goes: in order to make an omelette you must break a few eggs."

I think the most important thing for me to remember is where change is concerned - that I keep my expectations kind and gentle toward myself. On the one hand through my life I have undergone stark transformation; some of which might be said to have been quick and spontaneous, but for the most part it has been gradually and incrementally over time. We don't all under go these drastic conversion experiences that have occurred to some such as Francis. Rather than romanticize about that, (as experiences like that are no walk in the park) - I can be grateful (extremely grateful) for the change that has occurred in my life.... the life I have, and the time I'm given to continue to seek that peace.

One day at a time!

R. O'Neill (July 09, 2018)

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