I want to follow and not lead; give and not take; love and not hate.
Like you, I want to be a soldier of peace and not war; a kind and loving friend to the poor and a prodding yet mild abrasion to the rich.
Please let me never look down on anyone, but always look up, and thereby find something to admire in even the lowliest society judges among us. There is good in everyone and everything if we but search beneath the surface.
Let me feel one with all, and never feel separate again. We are brothers and the fate of our family is in our hands, in the arms of all brothers and sisters who realize we walk this Earth together and not apart; that the elevation of one should cause joyful celebration, while the decline of another a sad tragedy for all.
Let me assert strength through gentleness and never demand respect through a show of force.
Free me of all desires except to want to serve others, and not to command them; help me overcome any fear or revulsion toward anyone different from myself because of the color of his skin, his religion, or political belief. Let no impairment due to poverty, ignorance or act of God prevent me from caring for the most outcast among us. Mother Theresa saw saintliness in the lowliest conditions in Calcutta. Let me find similar goodness in the impoverished streets of America where our “advanced” nation believes none exist.
You showed me that in caring for birds and animals in the wild outside, that I could tame the beast residing inside; that in sharing not only my time but also my food with all sentient beings that I’d never waste that time and always find food enough to share.
Help me to always view the world as if I were still a child who can magically overcome despair with hope; offer faith where there is doubt; project the light into the dark; offer joy instead of sadness; seek to console rather than be consoled; to understand rather than to be understood; and to love rather than to be loved, as you, St Francis, will always be remembered in this loving prayer:
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