After posting that I was unsure what to teach my kids regarding God and prayer, I was reminded how, at San Francisco’s amazing Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival last Fall, Patti Smith, in the middle of rocking out (I think to “Gloria”) pulled a crumpled paper from her coat and recited the prayer of St. Francis. “San Francisco!” she said to us, all watching her, wide-eyed and smiling, standing there in the fog and sun under all those Eucalyptus trees. “Be happy!” Patti said. “Work hard! Love one another!”
Here’s Patti’s prayer. I may try reading it to my kids tonight; they are San Franciscans, after all.
- Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
- Where there is hatred, let me bring 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.
- Grant that I may not 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 late meditation teacher and spiritual sage Eknath Easwaran taught an “eight-pointed” spiritual path whose cornerstone was “passage meditation” that consists of sitting still, closing one’s eyes, and silently reciting at a slow pace a spiritual passage of some sort over and over once or twice a day for thirty minutes at a time. And it may interest you to know that the passage he used and recommended that beginners to his path use was the St. Francis prayer. http://www.easwaran.org/the-prayer-of-st-francis.html