545. Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Text Information
First Line: Make me a channel of your peace
Title: Make Me a Channel of Your Peace
Author: Francis of Assisi, 13th cent.
Refrain First Line: O Master, grant that I may never seek
Meter: irregular
Language: English
Publication Date: 1982
Topic: Comfort & Encouragement; Love: Our Love for Others; Walk with God (2 more...)
Tune Information
Composer: Sebastian Temple (1967)
Meter: irregular
Key: D Major
Copyright: Tune © 1967 Franciscan Communications Center

Text Information:

Scripture References:
all st. = Phil. 2:12-13
ref. = Acts. 20:35

This text is based on a well-known prayer attributed to Francis of Assisi (PHH 431), founder of the Franciscan Order. Originally in Latin, the prayer appeared in various nineteenth century documents (the English translation begins "Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace").

Like 544, "Make Me a Channel" is a fervent, personal prayer but one that is overtly social in its application. In it the believer asks to be a vehicle of divine peace and biblical shalom, one through whom God works "to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Phil. 2:12b-13). The fruit of the Spirit, including love, faith, hope, and joy, will be the channel of reconciliation and peace to a world troubled by hatred, doubt, despair, and sadness. The refrain's theme is characteristic of Francis's Christian ministry and reflects the meaning of Jesus' words quoted by Luke in Acts 20:35, "It is more blessed to give than to receive."

The versification and melody of this setting are the work of Johann Sebastian Temple (b. Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa, 1928), a member of the Franciscan Order. By the time he was fifteen, Temple had published a novel and two books of poems in Afrikaans. He studied anthropology at the University of South Africa and pre-Renaissance art in Italy. After living in England for six years, he became a monk in a yoga monastery in India. When he moved to the United States, he entered the Franciscan Order. Temple is a singer and a songwriter who has recorded his songs on twelve albums.

Liturgical Use:
Many occasions of worship that focus on the Christian virtues that Francis enumerates; as a sung part of other spoken prayers at the beginning or end of the congregational prayer.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

TEMPLE was composed in the ballad and guitar style typical of 1960s folk music. After Vatican II permitted the use of languages other than Latin in worship, a number of Roman Catholic composers adopted this style, sometimes fusing it with a chant style (note the repeated melody tones), when they set vernacular texts to music (see 520).

This setting is for unison singing, though the refrain lines could easily be sung in harmony if more variety in texture is desired. The accompaniment suggests the use of guitars, but light accompaniment on piano or organ is also possible. Sing with two pulses per measure.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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