I’m sure most of us are familiar with this quote: “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” It’s by St. Francis of Assisi. We all know this phrase because we sing it at church on Sundays. (And now I’m sure the song is going to be stuck in your head.) But what does it actually mean?
There are two parts: peace and love. First, are we an instrument of peace from day to day? Think about it. When you interact with family, friends, or even strangers, are we spreading peace? Are we making people feel better, calmer, happier, more peaceful? Or are we short tempered? Do we complain? Do we gossip? Do we put other people down? Are we critical? It’s definitely easier said than done, and you probably can think of times where you have done both. But this is such a good reminder that we as Catholics are called to be an instrument of God’s peace. Wouldn’t you rather someone bring you peace instead of gossip, complaints, or criticisms? So whoever you’re with, whether it be family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, or even people you find it hard to get along with, strive to be an instrument of peace.
“Where there is hatred, let me sow love.” This one might seem more obvious – of course we should try to love others. But to me, this one seems to go deeper. It doesn’t just say, “let me sow love,” but rather “where there is hatred, let me sow love.” Have you ever been in a situation where a group of people was gossiping about another person? Maybe you were contributing to the gossip, or maybe you didn’t say anything at all. This is the time where there is hatred. This is the time where we are called to sow love. This could mean standing up for the person being gossiped about, or this could mean bringing up positive qualities about the person being gossiped about. It takes courage, but imagine the look on the person’s face if they knew you were standing up for them. It’s easy to love when everyone else around you is loving. But it’s when there is hatred and division that is the most important time to love.
How can you be an instrument of peace and sow love where there is hatred? Can you imagine the difference you would make?