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Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace Hardcover – April 21, 1999
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The monastic tradition of lectio divina--holy reading--is a discipline of extremely slow, phrase-by-phrase, meditative reading of scripture. Its desired effect is to plumb the Bible's depths in such a way that scripture's individual words and phrases come to permeate the reader's whole life. In Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace: Living in the Spirit of St. Francis, Kent Nerburn reads the Prayer of Saint Francis in a manner much like lectio, and the rewards of this strategy are rich. The prayer ("Where there is hatred let me sow love ...") is a familiar one, but Nerburn's reflections on its phrases--meandering through stories of his summer jobs as a teenager, his lonely expatriate days in Germany, his long walks on the beaches of Mexico--make the old prayer new again. Nerburn has lived this prayer, and the quiet example of this book will help many readers to do so as well. He unwittingly describes the strength and power of his own project while reflecting on a phrase from the prayer's final stanza, "For it is in giving that we receive." Nerburn writes, "Our spirits are nourished by giving, just as our bodies are nourished by food. This is not mystical; it is not high-minded. It is a simple truth about the way that the energy of life flows back and forth between people when a moment of giving takes place." --Michael Joseph Gross
"What a lovely book!"-- Anne Lamott, author of "Bird by Bird and "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith"I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Ken Nerburn's "Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace. I have never realized the depth of thought in that brief prayer of St. Francis. Kent Nerburn, in a few masterful strokes and touching stories, plumbs its depths and offers us a precious little treasure."-- Joseph F. Girzone, author of "Joshua "An ennobling book. It will not only make you feel better, it might just make you a better person."-- Huston Smith, author of "The World's Religions"Kent Nerburn has written a little jewel of a book, to warm the heart and touch the soul."-- Rabbi Harold S. Kushner, author of "When Bad Things Happen to Good People"Kent Nerburn offers his mindful heart and thoughtful presence to illuminate the penetrating wisdom of Francis's sweet prayer. This book is a pearl of great price, revealing how the most potent, authentic prayer is also tender and very human. Kent Nerburn is a wise companion who has given us a blessing to be cherished again and again."-- Wayne Muller, author of "Legacy of the Heart and "How, Then, Shall We Live?"Kent Nerburn has tackled a well developed Franciscan prayer and topic with the freshness of an outside and contemporary perspective. Filled with stories from modern life in the west, it is thoroughly enjoyable as a quick, refreshing read, yet filled with spiritual gems."-- John Michael Talbot, founder of Brothers and Sisters of Charity, author of "The Lessons of St. Francis
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The Prayer of Francis of Assisi ,
"Make Me a Channel of Your Peace " was sung that day .
This prayer had always been a part of my life but this brought new and deeper understanding at a time when I dearly needed it.
Thank you Kent Nerburn.
Rev. Jim Smart
We are called to love others, putting God first, others second and self last, because that's what God asks us to do. I have read so many spiritual works, and this is one of my very favorites. I just ordered 2 more of his books. I can't wait to read them, as well!
Nerburn always emphasizes the practical. "I would rather try to manifest my belief in God than to profess it," he writes. In this way, Saint Francis and the self-admitted not-so-saintly Nerburn make a wonderful team. They teach us that we cannot successfully hide from the dark side of our world or of ourselves; that instead we must face even the "most frightening human emotion" --- hatred --- head on. The goal is not to become a saint, thank goodness, but to accept responsibility to do what we can to manifest, and not just profess, our own beliefs.
Congruent with its contents, the physical book itself makes an excellent gift. I keep several copies in my office to give away whenever I may be so moved --- by the spirit of Saint Francis perhaps. (Although I doubt that Francis is involved in book promotion)