It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. So begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Such could be said of our own time.
As the promise of a new semester unfolds before us, the international headlines are daunting. Syria enmeshed in an ever-escalating civil war. The United Nations deadlocked regarding a response. Surrounding countries anxious and afraid. The United States considering military action. Millions of refugees, many of whom are children.
In light of such serious issues facing the global community, it can be easy to feel helpless. What can I do, we may wonder? What does all this have to do with me or my family, we may question. How I am to think or act about such things, we may ask.
While in such matters, each of us is called to follow our own conscience, I would encourage you to reflect upon how such times and such circumstances can prompt each of us to seek peace in all arenas of our lives – our households, our campus, our communities, our country and our world.
To that end, I invite you to keep the Prayer of St. Francis close at hand. Post it on your mirror. Write it as a note in your phone. Print it, fold it, and put it your pocket. Hang onto it with your hands and with your heart. And when all seems overwhelming – in your life or in our world – read it, and then read it again, and you just might be surprised at how God moves you through these time-worn words.
Make me a channel 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.
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.
God bless your peace-making in your corner of the world.
Rev. James A. Wetzstein and Rev. Charlene M. Rachuy Cox serve as university pastors at Valpo and take turns writing weekly reflections.