This prayer fails to recognize the legitimacy of
violence to produce virtuous outcomes. The
imprisonment of criminals and the destruction of
repressive regimes are cases in point.
The destrcution of the economy of the Soviet Union by
REagaqn's policies in the 1980s, caused much human
suffering. However in that it destroyed a despotic
regime that was causing and potentially could have
caused much more suffering, this was a virtuous act.
Ghandi's boycott of British cotton casued much
suffering among the British working classes. Was this
infliction of suffering morally justified?
For a text which has much more insight than this naive
prayer, check Thomas Friedman's column "on Listening"
in the New York Times.
Friedman recommends a strategy right out of
Machiavelli in advancing virtue publically while
retaining the capacity to perform necessary violence.
----- Original Message -----
From: Peter Montgomery
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 5:01 PM
Subject: FW: Martin Sheen's Peace Prayer
Subject: Martin Sheen's Peace Prayer
The following is taken from a speech by Martin Sheen
at Marquette University on Sept. 19, 2003. At the end
of the speech he invoked the following poem/prayer,
which is his effort at combining the Prayer of St.
Francis with a poem by Tagore, India's poet laureate.
My sisters and brothers, peace be with you!
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
We are left empty and trembling at the level of
confidence placed in the power of violent weapons and
the level of arrogance thay have inspired in our
national leadership. But you have taught us, Lord,
that arrogance is ignorance matured and "what we sow,
also we reap", so Lord, make us instruments of your
Descend with us into the depths of our powerlessness
and fear and awaken the power of non-violent
transformation as we discover your fire for the second
Then, Lord, let the light and heat from that fire make
every thought, every word, and every deed a reflection
of loving non-violent resistance to every wretched
form of violence so that we may be made worthy of the
long promised blessing reserved for the Peacemakers
and for those who show mercy.
Lord, make us non-violent instruments of your peace,
so that we may lift up the world and all its people to
a place where the heart is without fear and the head
is held high, where knowledge is free; where the world
has not been broken up into fragments by narrow
domestic calls; where words come out from the depth of
truth; where tireless striving stretches its arms
toward perfection; where the clear stream of reason
has not lost its way into the dreary desert sands of
dead habit; where the mind is led forward by Thee into
ever widening thought and action -- into that heaven
of freedom, my Father, let my country awake!
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