Rector’s Blog: An Instrument of Peace

An Instrument of Peace

This past week, the church celebrated the feast of St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). When we celebrate the saints, we not only recall the ways that they were examples of the faith, we also celebrate the very fact that they were human!

They weren’t always perfect, these saints. Take Francis, for example. He was born the son of a wealthy family and very much lived the life of a bon vivant. Francis spent his early years trying to discern his call. In other words, he never really knew what he wanted to do with his life. One day, though, a very clear direction came from God, who told him to build the church.

Francis took this quite literally. He took out hammer and nail and began to reconstruct a church just outside of Assisi. Eventually, though, his call really began to take shape. The church had veered away from Christ’s call to look after the poor and the needy. Francis took steps to restore the church to that original call to be humble and compassionate. He created an order that would embrace poverty and reflect the qualities of Christ to put others first. Francis reminded the church of the sacrificial nature of being a disciple.

St. Francis held special consideration for animals and the Earth, thereby earning him the title of the “Patron Saint of Animals.”

Francis was also in touch with the earth in a very beautiful way. He realized our dependence upon earth and sky and all of creation. He knew that animals toiled in the fields on our behalf and would often give them extra hay or food on Christmas eve, thereby establishing himself as the patron saint of animals.

I feel very connected to Francis, not because he was perfect and was always clear about his call. I feel connected to Francis because he DIDN’T always have it “all together.” He made a few wrong turns, but he ultimately found his way to God, or, rather, God made the path clear for him. Francis took the path. He rebuilt the church not with hammer, nail, and beam, but with humility and compassion and connectedness.

Here is the prayer attributed to St. Francis. We are using it as the framework for our prayers of the people this month. Perhaps there are lines or words that are speaking to you about your own journey. Where are you drawn into this prayer? How is God using you to be an instrument of peace?

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. 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. Amen.

See you in church, (guest preacher, Sarah Nolan and guest celebrant, Bruce Birdsey.)

Preferred pronouns: he, him, his
You can call me “Charlie” or “Father Charlie”

The Rev. Dr. Charles T. Dupree
Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
Richmond, Virginia