“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
-Jesus Christ, Luke 6:27-28
These are hard words.
Several weeks ago, I began praying for those from my past; people towards whom my heart had grown very hard towards. Those whose transgressions I held against them. The hardness and bitterness only seemed to hurt me, so I trusted in the words quoted above and began to hold them in my prayers and intentions.
It began at Mass in conjunction with reflecting on the Year of Mercy declared by his holiness, Pope Francis (whom I affectionately call, Papa Frankie). I would pray for my father, for my brother who declared myself and my siblings dead to him, for the church of my youth, and the pastor of my youth. I prayed that the Lord would soften my heart towards them, and grant that I could let them go.
After a few weeks, these prayers were offered not only at Mass, but in my daily life. I found my heart growing soft, callouses falling away, and the strength to let go of all the things I held against them.
Soon I began praying for their health and well being; for the Lord to pour His Grace upon them that they may see and come to believe (for in what I have seen, I fear greatly for their faith). My prayers grew in frequency and in love.
I found after several weeks, the haunting memories and whispers that terrorized me no longer held the power over me they once had. They didn’t send me reeling in a downward spiral of hate and anger. Instead I had the strength to stand up against them, and the power to move forward.
It was I who was blessed in this practice. I have no idead the efficacy of my prayers for them, but I found healing and grace. I don’t speak to these people at this time, for they are still unhealthy, and a danger to my wellbeing, but they are forgiven for what they have done, and are (to paraphrase poet Buddy Wakefield) granted safe passage through my mind.
Thanks be to God.