A random thought about the prayer of St. Francis occurred to me a few days ago that I wanted to share. He probably didn’t actually write the prayer, but lots of good stuff is pseudepigraphic, including large parts of scripture. This is what struck me:
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;
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.
Apparently, St. Francis or his ghostwriter had a counseling degree, because that bolded line is exactly what my therapist has been telling me for months. If we honestly try to understand another person, they are far more likely to try to understand us. We’ll also understand them better in the process, which is probably burying the lede—we may want them to understand how they are hurting us, but that felt need will likely fade once we understand why they are actually trying to say. Anyway, if it’s good enough for St. Francis, I’ll give it a try. Probably not random too.