Saturday, May 20, 2006

Make Me an Instrument of Peace

by Cindy Sheehan
Common Dreams News Center
Cindy Sheehan made the following remarks on May 18, 2006, to the Spiritual Activism Conference in Washington, DC.

"Not too long ago I was listening to Air America when a caller to the religious right of war supporter/evangelist Pat Robertson said it didn't bother him that George Bush doesn't follow the law of our land because when we have a man who is a 'Christian' in office, we don't need the rule of law! The caller and, I am afraid too many more people in America, are saved from the responsibility of democracy because they believe that George follows a higher law than our constitution. The person who called in really meant that. I found that call disturbing for several reasons, but to think that a man who kills his pretend enemies and is a warmaker with wanton disregard to the teachings of Jesus Christ, is a Christian flies in the face of everything that I was taught about Jesus of Nazareth and about the Christian faith...

"I was starting to recall my Roman Catholic roots more and more while in the Basilica, when those same roots were brought back sharply into focus when I came to the 'Tomba di San Francesco' the Tomb of St. Francis. I walked into the chapel and stood in front of the Saint's remains and was struck by the fact that I was in a holy place. A sacred spot that has been sanctified not by the sprinkling of holy water or the sometimes empty chanting of the faithful, but by the life of one person who preached a message of simplicity, peace, love, hope, joy, faith, forgiveness and the light of goodness. Good people have followed in the tradition of St. Francis and one does not have to be a practicing Catholic, or a practicing anything, to appreciate the words of St. Francis. I think the Peace Community who takes Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, and Henry David Thoreau rightly as its icons can also look to St. Francis for guidance and inspiration.

"One of St. Francis's most simple, yet important and meaningful works is the 'Peace Prayer of St. Francis'…which I assume wasn't his title for it, because he wasn't yet a Saint when he wrote it. The first stanza reads:

"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!"

© Copyrighted 2006


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