Another Look at the Serenity Prayer

“First keep the peace within yourself,

then you can also bring peace to others.”
– Saint Thomas a Kempis
 

The serenity of a summer sunset on Singer Island, Florida (June 26, 2012 photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)
Most people are familiar with the Serenity Prayer, the simple prayer often used by those involved in Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step recovery programs. There is a lot of wisdom in those three lines for all of us.
But did you know that the Serenity Prayer is actually much longer?  We used this beautiful prayer here this morning at John Carroll to open the school day and ask for God’s blessings. 
Beth Puleo challenged all of us to put our faith and trust in God in good times and in bad during an assembly Sept. 17. When life presents seemingly insurmountable obstacles, we must remain hopeful and trust in His mercy. Beth helped many of us to put our fears and worries into perspective as we learned of the challenges that she faced in her battle with brain cancer and the resulting side-effects. Read more about Beth’s story here.
If we pause and draw to mind our cares and concerns, placing them in God’s hands with this beautiful prayer, we can know peace.
The Serenity Prayer (long form):
God grant me the serenity 
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time; 
Enjoying one moment at a time; 
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; 
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life 
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.
–Attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971), pastor, theologian, and longtime professor at Union Theological Seminary
 
While enjoying the serenity of a sunny beach on St. Thomas, USVI, we watched a storm passing over the nearby Caribbean island of St. John. (April 9, 2012 photo by Patti Murphy Dohn)
 
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Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.