An Undivided Life

An Undivided Life

An Undivided Life 

   Many churches this week are celebrating the life of Francis of Assisi, a 12th-century friar, preacher and lover of nature and animals. I had the opportunity to visit his hometown Assisi, Italy last year, and my time there only increased my admiration for this man whose life and teachings continue to inspire the world some eight hundred years after his death. The power of Saint Francis is grounded in the fact that the way he humbly lived is life was so entirely congruent with is beliefs and teachings.

   Parker Palmer, a modern Quaker author, writes about living an "undivided life," a concept that guides all of our Living Compass wellness programs. To live an undivided life is to live like Francis of Assisi, where one's core values and beliefs orients all that one does. Saint Francis summed up what it means to live an undivided life with these words,  "Preach the gospel always, if necessary use words." 

   There is a well-known prayer, supposedly written by this man and thus referred to as the Prayer of St. Francis. For me, it has been an important compass that I've used as a guide for my life for many, many years as have many others. Although there is no concrete proof that he actually wrote this prayer it is entirely congruent with his life and teachings.  

   I close this week's column with this prayer in hopes that it may inspire all of us on our path to living an undivided life.

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. 
Where there is hatred, let us 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 we 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.

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