Sep 01, 2020 1184 Mary Therese Emmons, USA

Heal the World

Growing up in a large family of ten children with ten quite different personalities, our home was often loud and chaotic, but also full of deep faith and love. I have vivid memories of me and my siblings bombarding our dear mother almost daily with tattling and disagreements.

Very often my mother simply replied to our quarrels by reciting the Beatitude in her quiet, calming voice: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” Hearing those words, we would retreat and make a firm resolve to compromise and forgive. Over the years, so many of my mother’s insightful words have become my inner voice. That voice is particularly loud now, given the tumultuous world we live in.

Strangely enough, the world today is not entirely different from the home I grew up in. This world, too, is loud and chaotic, but yet full of faith and love. Even with clashing personalities, different ideals, and conflicting thoughts, I nonetheless believe there is a communal desire for peace, and an underlying love for one another.

My father’s favorite prayer was the simple but beautiful peace prayer of Saint Francis which has become more meaningful to me as I have grown older. It is a perfect prayer for the times in which we live. Not merely a prayer for peace, it is a prayer that seeks a way to become a vessel for spreading peace.

It asks that we forsake ourselves in order to care for others and heal this world that is profoundly bruised and hurting. As I reflect on the heartening words of this touching prayer, I cannot help but feel a mingling of compassion and empathy for those who are injured, and a sincere desire to help heal, give comfort, and bring peace where I can.

What a different world this would be if we all embraced the gentle words of the gentle saint of Assisi and implemented them in our lives:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy 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.

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. Amen.


Mary Therese Emmons

Mary Therese Emmons is a busy mother of four teenagers. She has spent more than 25 years as a catechist at her local parish, teaching the Catholic faith to young children. She lives with her family in Montana, United States of America.

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