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Thursday, 17 April 2014

On Intercessory Prayer: Breaking through the permanent solitary confinement of lies.

In the book I have been sharing with you this week, The Yes of Jesus Christ, Benedict has covered the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.

One of the most moving sections he writes concerns helping a loved one get through a darkness of addiction or pain.

The example the Pope Emeritus uses is that of chemical addiction, but the message is applicable to anyone caught in an idolatry, a falsehood, a life distorting lie.

Benedict notes that love makes it possible to accept and endure with another the death of a lie.

He notes that, "The correct pastoral approach leads to the truth, arouses love for the truth and helps people accept the pain of the truth."

I stopped reading there for a minute or two and thought, "But, what of those, whom I love, who do not want to face the truth, who have refused to walk with me through the lies to truth, through love?"

I have several people in my life whom I love dearly who have refused the truth in their lives which I have tried to bring to them. These six people are caught in lies, perhaps at first built by others into a prison, but then accepted by themselves as the way they choose to live-in their chosen prisons of lies.

I cannot change their perspective as they have rejected me. This is the position of Christ on the Cross. His Own People rejected Him.

They did not want the love and salvation He came to bring. We, too, can bring love and truth into people's lives, and the tragedy of such people turning away is part of our cross.

You can see this daily-those in our families who have left the Church and are close to the message of truth found in the Catholic Faith; those who have left the way of personal encounters with love and seek, rather, there own small worlds of fear and, sometimes hate, especially self-hatred. These people live in the permanent solitary confinement of lies.

The only thing I can do is to pray and do penance for these six people so dear to me. That is the only way I know to lead them out of the darkness of addictions and lies.

On Good Friday, after commemorating the Death of Christ, and on Holy Saturday, as we contemplate the world of the apostles without Christ, that entire day of Christ in the tomb, can we reach out and pray for those in the prisons of their souls and minds?

Christ said this, one of my favorite passages in the New Testament:

Luke 4:18-21

18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. Wherefore he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he hath sent me to heal the contrite of heart,
19 To preach deliverance to the captives, and sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of reward.
20 And when he had folded the book, he restored it to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
21 And he began to say to them: This day is fulfilled this scripture in your ears

Intercessory prayer is hard work. It is the work of the Church Militant. Sometimes we cannot see the fruit of these prayers. But, there will be a resurrection, if the wills of those for whom we pray turn towards life.

Christ's death freed the captives of sin. That is one of the messages of the Harrowing of Hell. He set prisoners free, both those in hell and those on earth in their private hells of deceit.

Kyrie, elieson.