Have you ever had a rock or a baseball come flying through a window? The thwack of the initial impact is overwhelmed by the chaotic chime of glass hitting floor. The only thing left in the wake is a halo of jagged shards jutting out at odd angles from the frame. Splinters of glass everywhere. It’s a mess. 

When it comes to cleaning up the mess, we tend toward one of two approaches. Some bust out the rest of the glass and sweep it all up in one fell swoop. Others slap a piece of old cardboard and masking tape over the mess until the repairman can get there to replace the pane. We tend take similar approaches to our own brokenness.

Some get the mess all swept up and move on. However, when we are dealing with life’s rocks, cleaning up the pieces all at once can be more than we can handle. It’s okay to box up the mess and bind it with some tape – but it is only a temporary fix. The broken shards are sharp. Left unrepaired, they pose continued danger not only to ourselves but to those who attempt to provide help. The sharp edges fence us in.

Some objects come flying through at such velocity that they shatter the entire pane – leaving no shards jutting out, just splinters like grains of sand strewn about. There’s no barrier left between us and the rest of the world. We are just left exposed. 

It is here in this uncomfortable exposure -where we are shattered -that we are beckoned out of ourselves. It is here where we must decide – scramble for some tape and old boxes or let the world see us in all of our broken beauty.

Dear Father – In celebration of your child St. Francis of Assisi, we borrow the words often attributed to him as this Prayer of Peace expresses so perfectly the many ways that You can repurpose our broken lives. Take our shattered spirits and mold them new for Your purposes. We pray:

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.


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