Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
When we ask to be made in
struments of peace, what
we are really asking for is the boundless determination to empty ourselves of every state of mind that disrupts relationships - anger, resentment, jealousy, greed, self-will in any form. Our first priority is to reform ourselves; without that, how can we expect to help other people reform themselves? It is the living example of a man or woman giving all they have to making love a reality that moves our hearts to follow. We do not need a bumper sticker that says, “You are following an instrument of the Lord.” Our everyday actions speak for themselves.
-Saint Francis of Assisi
Mahatma Gandhi provides a perfect example of how anger can be harnessed. As a young, unknown, brown-skinned lawyer traveling in South Africa on business, he was roughly thrown from the train because he refused to surrender his first-class ticket and move to the third-class compartment. He spent a cold, sleepless night on the railway platform.
Later, he said this was the turning point of his life: for on that night, full of anger because of this personal injustice, as well as the countless injustices suffered by so many others every day in South Africa, he resolved not to rest until he had set those injustices right. On that night he conquered his anger and vowed to resist injustice, not by violence or retaliation, but through the loving power of nonviolent resistance, which elevates the consciousness of both oppressed and oppressor.
We may never be called on to liberate a people or lead a vast nation, but Gandhi’s example can apply in a small way in our own lives, when we decide to return good will for ill will, love for hatred, in the innumerable little acts of daily life.