I attended Catholic schools when I was young. There was no prayer I loved better than the prayer of St. Francis:
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.
When we are children, we are all selfish creatures. Our lives revolve entirely around having our needs met by those around us. With growth comes (hopefully) maturity and greater independence. It’s terribly easy to fall back into selfishness. This prayer helps me remember what matters. I would like to scatter joy instead of sowing further discord. At the same time, I understand that doing what is right is not always as simple as the words of a prayer for peace. Unfortunately.
– stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves
– make sure you express love to those who matter to you
– speak your truth
– lead with compassion
– be kind
It’s a short and simple list, but powerful in practice all the same.