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Peace on Purpose

Peace On Purpose

“Lord, make me a channel of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow your love.”

These heartfelt words from the popular prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi have widespread appeal to people everywhere.*

“May the Lord give you Peace!” was the greeting Francis extended to everyone and to every creature that he encountered. Francis knew that it was God who gifted and revealed to him a “greeting of peace.” He, in turn, beckoned his followers and people of good will to pay it forward!  Francis desired to live out Jesus’ repeated message of “Peace be with you” in the turbulent times in which he lived. 

Today, the real work of peace engages us in active nonviolent ways. It causes us to open our hearts to a spirit of peace that dwells within and in turn radiates outward. It is purposeful and deliberate activity. It engages our heart and whole being to look at our relationships at all levels and to recognize that we are interconnected.

The late civil rights activists Rep. John Lewis and Rev. C.T. Vivian both embodied peacemaking through nonviolence in their long struggles for basic human rights for every person. I participated in a training on nonviolence facilitated by C.T. Vivian years ago and still recall his gentle and respectful presence and approach to each person in the group. 

Inspired by Francis and his followers, I propose another verse to the Peace Prayer:

Make us a channel of your peace; open our hearts to active nonviolence.  May the spirit of Peace fill our hearts and may our world be united as one.” 

Although these are lofty ideas, they call us to ponder how differently our world would look if we followed Jesus’ and Francis’ lead in extending a greeting of peace to each other (of course practicing social distancing). 

And then I realized their lives of peacemaking have already changed my life and the world we live in now. In the midst of this pandemic, a new awakening of our sin of racism, and the tumultuous political environment, I invite you to extend a greeting of peace to everyone you meet. Continue the movement to pay it forward.

It does change the world and will change us.

*The prayer’s origin is traced back to 1912 and was found in France. The author is unknown. It was widely distributed in English in the United States during and after World War II. 

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. Thank you, Nancy, for reminding us that each time we pray for someone with the gift of peace, bless another, and act consciously in a nonviolent manner, we are, in fact, increasing the peace of the world.

  2. Nancy,
    What a timely message and reminder that whatever we do or wherever we are PEACE should be our goal as we leave our presence behind. Thank you for this reflective reminder of being PEACEMAKERS in this troubling times.

  3. Thanks, Nancy. As we pray today on the anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima, we remember the over 200,000 dead and the multitudes of survivors. For those who are still alive today, we remember them with gratitude for their lives and all who are still working to stop a nuclear holocaust. May peace reign in our lives and in the lives of all decision makers regarding peace or war.

  4. Thank you Nancy for the reminder that every single act of peacemaking makes a difference in our world. No one act stands alone. We are in this together across neighborhoods, cities, states, countries and our universe.

  5. Oh my dear Nancy. We have known each other a long time and I often have wanted to tell how proud I am and how grateful for your witness to Christ. I love this blog, it’s beautiful. Thank you for your sharing it with us. Mary❤️ Go Lynx!

  6. Thanks Nancy, for the reminder and prayer interpretation. Your words took me back to greetings of peace at the border in Nogales with SOA and distributing peace pals (dolls of color to anyone we met with the greeting of peace. We distributed free about 200+ and since then 200 more to various folks after our return). Here is info on the organization: Knitting4Peace is a grass-roots organization dedicated to crafting hope, healing and peace–one stitch at a time through non-violent compassionate action. We are committed to the well-being of women, children, and families we may never meet; we plant seeds of hope for a future we will never see. We are non-violent revolutionaries – armed with the power of prayer, the skills of our hands, and the care in our hearts – united in a compassionate fight for hope, healing, justice and peace for all women, children and families. No exceptions.

    As we knit, crochet, weave, or quilt each item, we pray for each other; we pray for the recipients of the items we create; we pray for those who deliver our items; and we pray for hope, healing and peace throughout our world.
    Peace, Marilyn

  7. Thank you, Nancy, for the invitation to open our hearts to active nonviolence. May the spirit of Peace fill our hearts and may our world be united as one. May we pay it forward. C Jean

  8. Thanks for the additional focus point for peace, Nancy. I also like your own closing on emails, “Peace and all good” which is perhaps also Franciscan, because I’ve seen it at Prairiewoods from the FSPAs. I appreciate the added reader comments as well.

  9. Peacemaking is integral to our calling, and we want to support one another in our efforts to be nonviolent.
    It’s humbling to recognize harsh feelings and murmurings personally in this time of the extending pandemic,
    economic upheaval, visible racism, political trauma and more challenges.

    Nancy, your focus on the Prayer of St. Francis is beneficial. May the Spirit of Peace your/our hearts!

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