Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace
A Meeting with a Mysterious Franciscan Monk

with Leo Drioli

Humility is at the heart of Truth. A humble heart knows how to live, with each heartbeat in rhythm with the Divine.

Standing in the grounds of Sacro Monte (Sacred Mountain) a Franciscan monastery in a small town near Stressa in Northern Italy, Enza and I are approached by a young monk who begins to speak openly and directly to us about God, without any need for inquiry on our part . . .

“Man through his egotism has lost his way. We have forgotten how to live this life. We have turned our faces away from the Father and have forsaken Him.”

Studying his gentle features, he reminds me of what I imagine San Francesco - this man’s beloved inner teacher and patron saint of Italy - must have looked like seven hundred years ago. Looking directly into his wide open eyes and sensing a total release from the world, he seems to be speaking in St. Francis’ very own words . . .

“All around us are treasures of Heaven, yet we don’t see them. Our brothers and sisters, the trees, the flowers, the birds, the animals. . . all these gifts of creation are not loved.

“We have abused our power by fighting each other and we have turned away from the true life we were all meant to live.”

Suddenly the young man comes out of his inspired reverie; a little blushed caused by our silence and our willingness to really hear his words. This doesn’t faze him though, as he gathers himself again and continues. . .

“This life is to be lived simply, in appreciation for the gifts given us by our Father in Heaven. But no, we choose to look the other way, with the inevitability of what is to come due to our egotism.

“We are to pray if we hope to move closer to God. And by prayer, I don’t mean the way most pray: always asking for this or that, giving with one hand but taking back with the other.

“No, this is not prayer. We are to pray to God with humility, giving thanks to Him for the gifts and pray that we may come back to the Good Life.”

With a shrug and a sigh, this humble channel for Master Francis bade us farewell and slowly moved on, back into the small church from where he had come.

Enza and I looked at each other in amazement, deeply touched by this gentle yet provocative discourse.

It caused a stir within me that asked only one thing of me, “What is this life really for?”

The answer is simple yet, we are not only called to answer it but to live it - daily. Master Francis only asked one thing and that is all that God asks of any Soul: “Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace.”

From a journal entry in my "Don't Miss a Moment" notebook date 17 August 1996, on a trip to Italy. Soon to be published in Leo’s second book "Awakening Presence", out March 2016.

Leo Drioli is the author of “Every Moment’s a Miracle” and editor of InnerSelf Newspaper. Leo is also a singer/songwriter, and has released his first EP “Let Your Spirit Sing”, Get a free download of his single “Give It Your Love” at www.LeoDrioliMusic.com