On Sunday, at 9:20 am, the church bells of Newtown will sound off to mark the time of death of the victims of Sandy Hook – The past 104 weeks have highlighted the damage to the soul that such a tragedy can have. The pit of despair, rage, and hate perpetuates and expands the evil the original act wrought. And many have fallen into that pit, including me. Climbing out of it is hard, but essential to ensure that the expanding ring of evil stops. Since then, unfortunately, there have been other similar tragedies, lives lost senselessly to rampant violence, and at each new event the pains of the prior ones resurface, and the battle to defeat the resurging pull of the pit starts anew. That battle can and must be won, and this, the prayer of St. Francis, can perhaps be for others the powerful weapon it has been for me. The battle to make these tragedies sad relics of a distant past will be long and difficult, but as Abraham Lincoln noted, let us have faith that right makes might and, in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.
The Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me a channel 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;
O Lord, grant that I may never seek
so much to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love with all my soul.
For it is in giving of ourselves that we receive;
in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and in dying that we are born to eternal life.