Religious Liberty is Intrinsic to Human Dignity

October 7th, 2015

Cardinal Donald Wuerl talks with U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts as they leave the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle in Washington after the annual Red Mass. (PHOTO CREDIT: Jaclyn Lippelmann for the Catholic Standard)

The Church this year commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Declaration on Religious Freedom, Dignitatis Humanae, by the Second Vatican Council. Today especially a renewed commitment to the fundamental principles affirmed in this eminent document is needed.

One of the hallmarks of our nation, which is made up of many peoples from different backgrounds and religious traditions, has been our ability to come together as one. This unity in diversity was seen at the Red Mass last Sunday when lawyers, judges and public officials from different faiths gathered at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle to offer up prayers seeking the gift of the Holy Spirit on all who are engaged in the service of the law and justice. Their presence at this liturgy, which marks the opening of the judicial year, was a humble affirmation of our need for the wisdom of God and the invaluable role that religion has played in our nation since its founding.

Yet we have also experienced in recent years, here and around the world, increasingly aggressive efforts to push God and religious believers out of the public square. Christians in particular have faced growing challenges to our ability to freely live our faith, from the persecution of our suffering sisters and brothers in foreign lands to a multiplicity of legal directives in this country that the Church act in ways contrary to our Catholic faith.

Before Pope Francis left on his apostolic journey, he revealed that he was carrying the cross of an Iraqi priest who was recently killed for refusing to renounce Christ. Our Holy Father’s first public words during his trip to Washington called for the preservation and defense of religious liberty from everything that would threaten or compromise it. Then, because the Pope is a pastor not only of words, but of action, later that day he made a special visit to the Little Sisters of the Poor here. He went to offer them support in their mission, including their stand in defense of religious liberty in their lawsuit against the HHS Mandate, which would compel them and other religious employers to violate their faith. It is expected that the U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear the Little Sisters’ case, perhaps together with a similar lawsuit brought by the archdiocese and its affiliated entities.

This is the context in which we mark 50 years of Dignitatis Humanae. As Americans, we know that religious liberty is not granted to us by government or subject to majority rule, but is intrinsic to our human nature. It is endowed to us by our Creator as part of our very being and thus is inviolate. In a similar way, the declaration, which was in part the work of the U.S. bishops, affirms that “the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself” (Dignitatis Humanae, 2).

Central to human dignity, religious freedom can be said to be the first and most essential of all freedoms because it is concerned with seeking and living in the truth. It is only in truth that we are genuinely free (John 8:32). Believers know that the ultimate truth is the Lord himself and just as we have the right to live in that truth, so do non-believers have the right to seek and find that truth which is God.

Every person, the Council affirmed, has “the right, to seek the truth in matters religious in order that he may with prudence form for himself right and true judgments of conscience, under use of all suitable means” (Dignitatis Humanae, 3). Accordingly, all persons “are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others” (Id., 2). Dignitatis Humanae then makes clear that one of the essential duties of government is to safeguard religious freedom (Id., 6).

While certainly insisting upon freedom for the Church to fully realize her Catholic identity and spiritual authority by “going out into the world and preaching the Gospel to every creature” (Id., 13), the Council explicitly affirmed that it “is one of the major tenets of Catholic doctrine that man’s response to God in faith must be free,” (Id., 10), thereby disclaiming any effort to require others in our pluralistic world to believe the Church’s teaching. As Saint John Paul II later explained, “The Church proposes; she imposes nothing. She respects individuals and cultures, and she honors the sanctuary of conscience” (Redemptoris missio, 39). We simply ask for the freedom to live by that teaching ourselves.

Today we are confronted with a gathering storm that sees religious values as the principal threat to the secular frame of reference for the public forum. Fortunately, we have Dignitatis Humanae to guide our efforts and remind us that religious freedom is a freedom to be exercised, a challenge to be met, and a gift to be shared with others.

Every Life is Worth Living

October 4th, 2015


During Pope Francis’ visit to Washington, one of the most striking images was how the Holy Father’s love radiated whether he was greeting a head of state or a homeless person. His gestures, his words, his actions in every encounter proclaimed the truth that every life is worth living. As a gift from God, every human life from conception to death is sacred. It is this fundamental truth the Pope so convincingly communicates.

Today, the Church in the United States celebrates Respect Life Sunday, with the theme of “Every Life is Worth Living.” In a special way, people are invited to reflect on the ways they can give witness to the dignity of every human life. “In many places, quality of life is related primarily to economic means, to ‘well-being,’ to the beauty and enjoyment of the physical, forgetting other more profound dimensions of existence – interpersonal, spiritual and religious,” observes Pope Francis. “In fact, in the light of faith and right reason, human life is always sacred and always ‘of quality.’ There is no human life that is more sacred than another – every human life is sacred.” (Address of November 15, 2014).

The Church has always proclaimed the dignity of each human person. Because we are images of our Maker and are called through Christ to share in the personal life of the Trinity, each of us has a transcendent worth.

The Second Vatican Council addressed a special need of our age when it stressed anew how human life must be honored and upheld, fostered and respected, saying, “whatever is opposed to life itself, such as any type of murder, genocide, abortion, euthanasia, and willful self-destruction . . . all these things and others of their like are infamies indeed” (Gaudium et Spes, 27).

Tragically in recent times, we have experienced an increase in violent crime in our neighborhoods, our Christian brothers and sisters in Syria are facing genocide, our legislative bodies in the District and Maryland are discussing the legalization of assisted suicide, and some even seem to be unmoved by news of trafficking in the body parts of aborted children. Thus, there is great need now for our Church to give ready witness to the dignity of human life at every stage, including our efforts to bring hope and healing to those who are or have been in crisis situations, leading to pain and despair.

For example, for close to 25 years, through the archdiocese’s Project Rachel Ministry, we have more than 60 trained priests and deacons who assist our staff in helping women and men heal spiritually and psychologically from the pain of abortion. Please take a minute to go here to learn more about this blessed work.

The archdiocese has also created a variety of #TransformFear resources that address the questions related to the end of human life due to illness, age or injury. With Pope Francis warning us of the “throwaway culture,” we must remember that human life is a gift from God – there is no such thing as a life not worth living. Our response as family members, as caregivers, and as a Church to those facing the end of life – with all their feelings of isolation, fear, and burdensomeness – is genuine compassion and reciprocal love, which seeks to provide comfort and hope in the face of fear and suffering.

A human value is realized and fostered only in concrete acts of love and justice. It is not human life in the abstract we are speaking about, but the real life and flourishing of people, of individual persons.

Life can be loved and furthered in an endless variety of ways; no concrete act or set of acts could exhaustively realize any such basic value. To realize, respect and foster human life, or any form of goodness, is to glorify the Creator of all persons and to honor his transcendent and creative goodness.

Opening of the Synod of Bishops on the Family

October 3rd, 2015
Photo Credit: Jaclyn Lippelmann for the Catholic Standard

Photo Credit: Jaclyn Lippelmann for the Catholic Standard

Though the World Meeting of Families is a triannual event, this year’s gathering in Philadelphia was particularly significant as it served as a joyful introduction to the most important themes of the XIV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which begins in Rome tomorrow and will end on October 25. We often hear Pope Francis speak to the essential and foundational role the family plays in society and how it needs our support and encouragement if society itself is to thrive. In his speech to Congress, he noted his profound concern for the family, “which is threatened, perhaps as never before, from within and without. Fundamental relationships are being called into question, as is the very basis of marriage and the family. I can only reiterate the importance and, above all, the richness and the beauty of family life” (Address of September 24, 2015)..

The vocational mandate of the family to be the building block of society has a supernatural meaning as well. Our Holy Father is calling all Catholic families to be signs, in the sense that a sign is an object that points beyond itself. It signifies something else, something greater than itself. Marriage is an effective and lasting sign. The unity of the spouses is as enduring as God’s communion with the Church. It is brought about not merely by their human wills but by an act of God, to which they give their full and free consent. Every married couple is a living sermon and so, therefore, is every Catholic family. This is a tremendous responsibility for the couple and family and comes with not a few challenges.

Over the past year, dioceses all over the world, including the Archdiocese of Washington, responded to a questionnaire about the fruits and challenges of family life in each diocese’s particular situation. All of these responses were gathered into the Instrumentum Laboris, which is the working document serves as a bridge between the work of the Extraordinary Synod last October and will guide the reflection and discussions of the Synod about to begin.

As explained by Cardinal Baldisseri, the General Secretary of the Synod, the three sections of the Instrumentum Laboris “illustrate the continuity between the two Assembles.” The first part, “Considering the Challenges of the Family,” draws more directly from last year’s Synod, the first phase of the process, while the second and third parts, “the Discernment of the Vocation of the Family” and “The Mission of the Family Today” introduce the topic of this Ordinary Synod, which has the “intention of offering to the Church and the contemporary world pastoral incentives to spur renewed efforts in evangelization.”

The work of the third section draws together the idea of the marriage as a sign and the mission of married couple and families to society. Hopefully one of the fruits of the Synod will be a vision for how married couples can be formed and called upon to be visible signs of God’s self-giving and how in the context of contemporary American culture can they signify God’s lasting love for his people. Married couples signify both the cross of Jesus and his glory. They point to the very life of the Trinity in heaven.

During the Synod last year, the participants heard the testimonies of various married couples and as I reflected on them, I recalled my own experiences with married couples in my ministry. These experiences and others then formed the basis for a new book that I recently wrote, The Marriage God Wants for You, to help people gain a greater knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of marriage and family. In the coming weeks, I hope to share with you some excerpts from this book.

Also over the next few weeks, I ask you to join me in praying for the work of the Synod, that together we can strengthen the vocation and mission of marriage and families and that Catholic family life will be a sermon to the world of God’s faithful and fruitful love.

The Hope of Christ in the Face of Evil

October 2nd, 2015


Yesterday, our nation received the news of another mass shooting, this one leaving nine people dead, plus the gunman. The victims of this act of horrific violence in Oregon were not chosen at random. Witnesses at the community college where the carnage took place report that Christians were targeted for killing. The rampage reminds us of the nine people gunned down at a historic African American church in South Carolina, as well as the targeting of Christians for death in the Middle East and elsewhere around the world.

Not too long ago, some friends of mine were witnesses to a gunfight outside their workplace here in Washington. This incident, which they said looked like a shoot-out you might see in the movies, was for the most part not reported in the news. Shootings and other acts of violence are now so frequent that they seem to no longer be news.

Looking at all this, we might be tempted to despair. And many people have become so inured to the violence that they are simply numb – it no longer has the shock value it once had being so commonplace.

It is in times like this, however, that we take hope in Jesus Christ. Confirmed in that hope in the recent visit of Pope Francis, we know that the Gospel he brought us is good news indeed. This is the light and mercy that is needed when evil strikes, and this is what we as Christians are called to offer now. In solidarity with the families and friends of the victims in Oregon and others around the world, we offer up our prayers for the dead and all who are touched by the violence. May God also console their loved ones. With renewed spirit from the grace of the Vicar of Christ among us, we can rededicate ourselves to manifesting in our world today the kingdom of God.

Simple and Ordinary Acts of Love Renew the World

October 1st, 2015


Some of the clearest expressions of the Gospel come from young people and so whenever I encounter them, I cannot help but be encouraged. Whether it is meeting with school children, teenagers at the Youth Rally and Mass for Life, or dinner with college students, I see in them a special vibrancy as they search for the right path for their lives.

As Pope Francis has noted, “We have all seen during World Youth Days the joy that young people show in their faith and their desire for an ever more solid and generous life of faith. Young people want to live life to the fullest. Encountering Christ, letting themselves be caught up in and guided by his love, enlarges the horizons of existence, gives it a firm hope which will not disappoint” (Lumen Fidei, 53). This dynamism was on full display during the recent visit of our Holy Father.

Eager to know the faith, young people are also capable of the most profound insights. Thérèse Martin was not yet 14 years old when she came to a realization that would change her for the rest of her life and inspire countless others after she died at the tender age of 24. In her autobiography, The Story of a Soul, she describes how she was overly sensitive growing up as the youngest child in the family. Then on Christmas Day 1886, she overheard her father say something that previously would have upset her. Instead, she recounted, “Love filled my heart, I forgot myself and henceforth I was happy” (Story, chapter 5).

From then on, Thérèse grew in love. It was the love of Jesus in her heart, together with the love of our Blessed Mother Mary. She wanted very much to show the greatness of her love, but she was meek – she considered herself to be “a very little soul,” a “little flower” who was unable to do any heroic deeds. “The only way I can prove my love,” she understood, “is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love” (Story, chapter 11).

Canonized a mere 28 years after her death, “Saint Thérèse of Lisieux invites us to practice the little way of love, not to miss out on a kind word, a smile or any small gesture which sows peace and friendship,” says Pope Francis. “Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world” (Laudato Si’, 230-31).

This sublime lesson of Saint Thérèse, whom Saint John Paul II called an expert in the “science of love,” is magnified by her complete gift of self to the Lord in the consecrated life of the Carmelite order. Her greatest joy was in being a bride of Jesus and a mother of souls, and her little way commends itself particularly to today’s married couples and parents.

“It is love’s nature to humble itself,” she says (Story, chapter 1). The willingness to do simple and ordinary things, little acts of kindness without making a fuss, the spiritual mercies of patience and forgiveness, the resolve that love should transcend slights and disappointments – couples who have been married for many years tell me that their journey together has been characterized by these little things.

Sometimes we can fall into the trap of believing that the challenges we face are too complicated to solve, but Saint Thérèse, like many young people in their innocence, teaches us that the answers to life ultimately are all really rather simple. All it takes is love, one small act at a time. In this modest way, we please God and help renew the temporal order.

Walking with Saint Junípero Serra to Proclaim the Good News

September 29th, 2015

Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has concluded his apostolic journey to the United States and returned to Rome, but the experience continues to live on in the hearts of many. The enthusiasm we saw from so many people from so many walks and sectors of life shows that there is a hunger for the Good News that the Church has to offer. There is a vibrancy and excitement within both the Church and the greater society and his presence among us is sure to bear fruit for many years to come as we take his words to heart and go out to care for one another, bringing mercy and hope and the joy of being loved.

Each of us in our own way will have our own favorite memories of this time of grace. Many of those memories, I saw at every location, were captured for posterity by a sea of smart phones, tablets and even a few old styled cameras. Whatever your favorite moments were, even if you watched the proceedings only on television or through our digital media on the Internet, I encourage you to share them with others. In this small way, we do the work of evangelization, sharing the joy of the Gospel by showing how we walk with Pope Francis and the Lord in our pilgrim journey.

Space limitations here really do not permit an extensive discussion of each of Pope Francis’ addresses and homilies. Each in its own way is worthy of careful thought and reflection. Thus, for now I would like to focus on the Mass for the canonization of Saint Junípero Serra, the extraordinary missionary priest. Celebrated on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the liturgy in a way extended the Church out into the world, illustrating our mission to extend the Gospel to the world.

Following that beautiful litany of the saints, where the people assembled in communion with the whole Church sang out “ora pro nobis” (pray for us), as each saint’s name was invoked, our Holy Father spoke the formula of canonization, saying that after due deliberation, frequent prayer and the counsel of many brother bishops, “we declare and define Blessed Junípero Serra to be a Saint and we enroll him among the Saints . . .”

Pope Francis began his homily with words of joy – “Rejoice in the Lord always! I say it again, rejoice! These are striking words, words which impact our lives.” Then he asked how, in the face of so many daily struggles, we could make the joy of the Gospel take deeper root in our lives? Rather than settling for what comes easy, a “Christian finds joy in mission,” said our Holy Father. “The Church, the holy People of God, treads the dust-laden paths of history, so often traversed by conflict, injustice and violence, in order to encounter her children, our brothers and sisters. . . . So let us go out, let us go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ.”

Our heritage as Christians is a bold missionary spirit. “We are indebted to a tradition, a chain of witnesses who have made it possible for the good news of the Gospel to be, in every generation, both ‘good’ and ‘news,’” the Pope reminded us. One of those sublime witnesses was Saint Junípero. “He was excited about blazing trails, going forth to meet many people, learning and valuing their particular customs and ways of life. He learned how to bring to birth and nurture God’s life in the faces of everyone he met; he made them his brothers and sisters.” Although Saint Junípero faced great challenges, “He kept moving forward because the Lord was waiting. He kept going because his brothers and sisters were waiting,” said Pope Francis.

This is what we are all called to do – to keep going forth to every nation and to all people, proclaiming the love and mercy of God. This is the joy of the Gospel.

Prayer for the World Meeting of Families

September 27th, 2015
Pope Francis addresses the Festival of Families during the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis addresses the Festival of Families during the World Meeting of Families Philadelphia Sept. 26. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, concludes the Eighth World Meeting of Families with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, in communion with him and all our sisters and brothers at this gathering and throughout the world, we pray:

+ God and Father of us all,
in Jesus, your Son and our Savior,
you have made us
your sons and daughters
in the family of the Church.

May your grace and love
help our families
in every part of the world
be united to one another
in fidelity to the Gospel.

May the example of the Holy Family,
with the aid of your Holy Spirit,
guide all families, especially those most troubled,
to be homes of communion and prayer
and to always seek your truth and live in your love.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, pray for us!

A Look Back at the Visit of Pope Francis

September 25th, 2015

These last few days have been electrifying and jubilant with the visit of Pope Francis. The excitement for our Holy Father was evident here in our city, as it is wherever this humble pastor goes.  Truly this has been a moment of grace for our archdiocesan Church and the entire community, and as the host archbishop, it was my great privilege to be at the Pope’s side for much of the visit.

pope-francis-blog1There will be time in the coming weeks and months many opportunities to further reflect and comment on the Holy Father’s words to us, but for now I would like to share with you some of the images and words, sights and sounds that I witnessed during this blessed time.  Thanks to our highly talented archdiocesan social and digital media teams and newspaper staff who did such an exceptional job in covering the visit, you can follow the links below – or go directly to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Catholic Standard, El Pregonero, and WashArchdiocese YouTube pages – to view photo albums, messages, and video capturing the joy of our spiritual family.  In addition, I encourage you to read and reflect on our Holy Father’s words of faith, hope and love, which are being posted here.

Tuesday afternoon, among those present to greet Pope Francis when his plane landed were more than 500 hundred schoolchildren and young adults from around the archdiocese. They cheered and sang for the Pope when he appeared. It was a delightful way to receive our special guest.  Similarly, each time the Holy Father came and went from the Apostolic Nunciature, where he was staying, I could not help but smile as he was met by cheering schoolchildren, who were even more elated when he would walk over to touch them in a personal way.

pope-francis-blog2That sense of elation continued early Wednesday with special sunrise Masses celebrated downtown, followed by a pilgrimage of a multitude of people to the Mall area near the Washington Monument and Ellipse. There the faithful and other members of the community were thrilled when Pope Francis came by to greet them in the Popemobile after his visit to the White House, where President Barack Obama and the others assembled on the South Lawn also gave him a festive welcome to our nation. In fact, even when we drove by in that now-famous Fiat, people along the streets roared with affection.

pope-francis-blog3Following this encounter, our Holy Father traveled a few blocks to the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle to meet with the bishops of the United States as a brother among brothers. Here, the spiritual shepherds of the Church in our country, in communion with our Chief Shepherd, prayed the liturgy of the hours, praising God and asking his blessings on our work serving him.

Of course, the high point of the day was our celebration of the Holy Eucharist earlier that afternoon on the steps of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception adjoining the campus of The Catholic University of America.  Looking out upon this gathering, I rejoiced in seeing there the universality of the Church and the multicultural diversity of our nation.  While I know that more people wished to be there in person, those present were thankful in the knowledge that so many of you offered your spiritual presence in prayer.

pope-francis-blog4With the uplifting music and prayers, you could really sense the Spirit alive in our family of faith.  At this beautiful liturgy, we were also privileged to witness and participate in the canonization of Saint Junípero Serra. We cannot help but be inspired to be missionaries disciples.

Before the Mass, in addition to passing through the crowd in the Popemobile, our Holy Father met with several thousand seminarians and religious novices from around the United States to give them his apostolic blessing.  Then afterward, to conclude this busy but blessed first day, Pope Francis graciously stopped by the Little Sisters of the Poor at their Jeanne Jugan Residence for the elderly poor and then continued on to our archdiocesan Saint John Paul II Seminary, where our young men studying to be priests glowed with excitement to meet him.

pope-francis-blog5The grace continued yesterday, with the wide range of people that Pope Francis met – those with power and those on the margins – demonstrating the depth of his pastoral concern.  Our Holy Father first visited Congress in the morning.  Whether it was in the House chamber or after the speech as the Pope toured Statuary Hall, where the statues of Saint Junípero Serra and Saint Damien of Molokai are on display, or in greeting the huge crowd gathered on the Capitol Lawn, everyone simply beamed with joy at being in his presence.

From the Capitol, Pope Francis went to Saint Patrick’s Church and Catholic Charities to give faith, hope and love to some of our sisters and brothers in need.  This was most certainly the most touching of all his visits.  Everyone there manifested the joy of knowing they are loved.

Following this encounter, in the afternoon our Holy Father departed for New York, again with the cheers of the young ringing in our ears.  Like most visits by a beloved family member, we cannot help but think it was too brief, but I know I speak for so many others when I say how thankful I am for the time we did have.

Throughout this time of abundant grace, from the moment the Pope touched down until he took off again, everywhere I went, in the words of the local theme of the visit, I saw people “Share the Joy, Walk with Francis.” In a particular way, I rejoiced to see how vibrant our Church is.

While our Holy Father has departed, the excitement need not end – I invite you to continue to visit and follow #WalkWithFrancis as our sisters and brothers in New York and Philadelphia receive the blessings we have enjoyed.  Above all, renewed in the Spirit, we want to continue to share the joy of the Gospel with all we encounter.


Words of Welcome to Our Holy Father Pope Francis

September 23rd, 2015


Holy Father, thank you for coming to Washington.

On behalf of everyone present and in the name of the Church of Washington, it is a great privilege for me to say welcome and thank you.

Bienvenidos y muchas gracias.

Together with the lay faithful and the bishops, priests, deacons, women and men in consecrated life and our neighbors from around the archdiocese and across the country, I greet you in the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ.   Your pastoral visit to the Church in the United States as our beloved Chief Shepherd is a blessing for all of us.

The Church that welcomes Your Holiness embraces people from every continent and numerous ethnic and cultural backgrounds. We gather in worship and seek to reflect your call to be missionary disciples. You can see that this Church shows the face reflective of Africa, Central and South America, India, Asia, Europe as well as our own Native Americans and those who trace their families to people who came in waves of immigration over several centuries.

Not far from here in 1634, the first Catholics arrived and began the evangelization effort that we see so wonderfully realized today at the great Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the campus of The Catholic University of America. United in faith we seek always to grow in the joy of the Gospel.

Today Your Holiness has just celebrated the Canonization of Saint Junípero Serra who offers us an example of the tireless effort to share the Gospel as we seek today to enrich our human culture with the great law of love of God and love of neighbor.

All of us at this Mass profess our faith and strive to live it in service and love. We take seriously your call in Laudato si’ to face the challenges of our day and to do so with respect for the dignity of each person, concern for one another, especially the marginalized and poor, and care for the good earth, our common home, God’s gift to all of us now and for generations yet to come.

We look to you for renewed inspiration so that we might truly be evangelizers.

Most Holy Father, welcome and thank you.

Our Holy Father Pope Francis Has Landed!

September 22nd, 2015

Pope Francis

In communion with our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as he arrives here in the archdiocesan Church of Washington, we offer up our thanks to God and in a special way 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;
it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life. Amen.

– prayer attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi