The grandson sat across from his grandfather, listening intently as the
old man recited the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
Lord, make me an instrument 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.
O 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.
He had heard this prayer countless times before, but this time it felt different. The grandson couldn't help but wonder how could someone possibly become an "instrument of peace" in a world that seemed so full of hatred and violence.
"Grandpa," he asked, "how can we become God's instrument of love and
hope in a messy world that seems so full of hate and despair?"
The grandfather smiled and leaned back in his chair. "Grandson, you see, sometimes we get so caught up in the problems of the world that we forget about the people who have come before us and faced even greater struggles. People like Blessed John Paul the Second came of out Poland in Europe in the 1900s under communism, family dysfunctions, and alcoholism. Or like Saint Maria Goretti, who came out of Italy in 1902 and faced poverty and was tragically killed for her refusal to give in impurity. Or like Father Augustus Tolton, the first African American priest in the United States during a time of segregation."
The grandson sat in silence, taking in his grandfather's words.
"You see, grandson, it's not about finding all the answers. It's about having faith and trusting in God, even when our human reasoning reaches its limit. It's about standing on the shoulders of giants, the saints who have come before us and faced their own struggles with grace and faith. We may not have all the answers, but we can trust that God has a plan for us. We must walk by faith, not by sight, and trust that God will guide us through the brokenness and hopelessness in our world."
The grandson looked up at his grandfather, feeling a sense of peace wash over him. He realized that the old man was right and that he too could become an instrument of peace, love, and hope in his own way.
"Grandpa," he said, "I understand now. I will try my best to become an instrument of God's peace, love, and hope, just like you and all the saints before me."
The grandfather smiled and patted his grandson's hand. "That's all I can ask for, grandson. And always remember, discipleship in God rises in the mix of brokenness and hopelessness so that He can brag about His glory through us."