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.

—The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi

Picture this. It’s not a traditional prayer, whispered in hushed reverence, but a poignant verse, a living, breathing poem. It’s a subtle symphony that rings with wisdom, an echo reaching every corner of existence, every soul irrespective of their chosen path.

Think of this not as a sermon, but as a compass, its needle pointing to the heart’s core. A call to action, a plea for transformation. Be the catalyst, it says. Be the mirror reflecting your own hopes for the world. Put yourself in the backseat, and take the lead in serving others. A reminder to apply the golden rule – treat others as you’d like to be treated.

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,” it begins, a humble request to be a beacon of harmony.

Imagine a world seething with hatred. Now, picture planting a seed of love in that barren land, an oasis blooming amidst the desolation. Imagine a wound festering with hurt, and then being the salve of pardon that mends it.

Envision a fog of doubt, thick and blinding, then being the lighthouse guiding lost ships to shore. Conjure up the depths of despair, then being the sliver of hope piercing through that darkness. In the inky blackness, be the dazzling beam of light; amid sorrow’s storm, be the rainbow of joy.

“O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,” it pleads, a selfless echo for empathy. It’s a plea to be the listener in a world full of speakers, the giver in a world overrun by takers.

This poem points to a profound paradox: in the act of giving, we receive. Not just physical gifts, but emotional and spiritual wealth. In the very act of forgiveness, we unshackle ourselves from our own prisons of resentment. And in accepting mortality, we awaken to an immortal life of the spirit.

This isn’t just a prayer or a poem; it’s a blueprint for a compassionate life. A roadmap that transcends religions and ideologies. Dive into its depths, and you’ll emerge, not only with wisdom but also with a direction to lead a fulfilling, empathetic life.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.