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The Peace Prayer

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

On the back of one of the memorial cards I have, there is this Prayer of St. Francis:

…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.
…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, …

Regardless of your beliefs, I think there is a lot of wisdom in these suggestions. It’s a reminder every day how much I need to take a step back and try to improve myself.

“Let me sow Love.” Our world and even our communities need to sow more love. I, like many of us, am guilty of being too judgmental and stereotypical of people we do not even know.

This past week, as I stopped at a red light, a car beside beeped their horn. Inside were two young fellows in their early twenties, gesturing for me to open my window on their side.

As I was driving my wife’s car, I did not realize the “window lock” was engaged, and I couldn’t accommodate them.

They continued to shout towards me, and for a moment I had my guard up, until I could finally read their lips and see that they were shouting that my gas cap was not on.

Indeed as I looked in my rear view mirror, I saw that I had not put my gas cap back on after filling it up. I was so thankful for the concern these two young men showed, but in hindsight, so upset at my first reaction to their beeping their horn and shouting at me.

“Where there is injury, pardon.” When I was younger and someone perhaps cut me off in traffic, a few times I remember speeding up and cutting in front of that car and then slowing them down. Young and foolish, I was. But it does seem to be an unwritten law today that if someone in some way injures us, we have to retaliate. What a much better community it would be if you and I could just pardon the mistakes of others.

“Where there is doubt, faith.” My wife recently returned from a conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her experiences and interactions with people from all countries, but particularly Americans, reminded me that the world, and particularly the U.S.A., is full of tremendously talented, compassionate, caring, intelligent and faithfully optimistic humans. I now have renewed faith, that “We shall overcome” many of the present difficulties in the U.S.A. and Canada.

“It is in giving that we receive.” Who doesn’t want to be praised for their work, or understood, or even loved? However, how much do we praise others? How much do we try to understand what others are going through, particularly immigrants or minorities?

Finally how much do we show love to others without always expecting something back in return?

To those young men beeping at me in their car, I want to say thank you for opening up my eyes in more ways than one.

As always, I’m at, and now that I think of it, seeking praise and constructive criticism.