WDTPRS: Prayer for enemies – Part III

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Today I celebrated a Votive Mass “ad postulandam gratia bene moriendi… begging the grace of a good death (dying well)”.

I added prayers, “Pro inimicis… for enemies”, as I have for several days now.

This is really the whole point of what we do here, isn’t it?   One day we will cease to breathe, our hearts will stop beating, and we will die.  Our souls will separate from our bodies. We shall go before the Just Judge for our particular judgment.

This is why we do all that we do.  We want to die a good death.  We want the happiness of heaven after our judgment.

Therefore, a critical aspect of our daily and long-arc lives is the need to forgive people who harm us.

Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

What about this is hard to understand?

It is hard to do, but it is not cryptic.

This is the last oration of the prayers, “For enemies”.

POSTCOMMUNIO

Haec nos communio, Domine, eruat a delictis: et ab inimicorum defendat insidiis.

O Lord, may this communion release us from sins: and defend (us) from the plots of enemies.

Insidiae, -arum. f. is always plural.  Ain’t it the truth!   The word comes from a compound, in + sedere… “to sit” leads to the image of “lying in wait”, “ambush”.   Delictum is a “transgression, offense, crime”.  We have the English word “delict”.  Eruo has a range of meanings such as “cast forth, pluck out, rescue”.

We ask God to “pluck us /rescue us from offenses / sins”.   Our first impulse may be to render this as “rescue us from our sins”, but that is not what the Latin says.  The Latin says, “rescue us from sins”.  In the next part we carry over the object, nos, and say “defend (us) from the plots of enemies”.  It is entirely reasonable to render this oration as:

O Lord, may this communion rescue us from the sins of our enemies: and defend (us) from the plots of our enemies.

I went back and looked for variants in the old books, perhaps a nostris delictis. Nothing.  However, as in the case of the Collect for this Mass pro inimicis, there is the distinction of the “ab inimicorum visibilium et invisibilium defendat insidiis” (Leofric).  The “invisible” enemies are demons but also that which summons demons, sins.

The Eucharist does, in fact, save.  Jesus saves.

The most important saving work of grace is that which brings us, by a good death, to the happiness of heaven.  However, grace also can save us from temporal harm.   Consider the Sacrament of Anointing.   This sacrament has the primary purpose of rousing love of God in the soul and strengthening us for the final struggle.  However a secondary effect can be physical healing.  Spiritual and temporal effects.   When we bless things in the traditional way, we pray that they will be helpful for the health/help of both soul and body… corporis sanitatem et animae tutelam….

We should pray for our enemies and pray against the works of our enemies.

We can pray against our enemies in the sense that we are really praying for them.   We can pray that our good God give them exactly what they need to bring them to a recognition of the evil they are working and the peril their souls are in.

Because we want to be happy in heaven with as many others as possible, we can and should pray for them, as for ourselves, a good death.

A good death on God’s schedule.

I am earnestly asking God right now for the graces to overcome any last resentments against my enemies.  I want to forgive them sincerely.  I hope and pray for their conversion.  I forgive them their hatred, their harassment of me and of others.  I forgive them for their desire to hurt me as much as they can.  I forgive them for their harassment of others in their attempt to get at me.   I fear these people are so engrained in their ways that only suffering will help them to wake up to the peril they are in.  I fear that the Enemy has their claws into them.  I want for them graces for conversion or, alternatively, necessary afflictions which God might allow – along with graces – to bring them to their senses.

I ask today the help today of St. Thomas More.  Please ask him for help for me.

On the eve of his execution, St. Thomas wrote his last letter to Henry VIII. I once saw it at the British Library.  Amazing.  St. Thomas wrote, that his comfort would be that ‘I shold onys mete with your Grace agayn in hevyn, and there be mery with you.’  He prays that both he and Henry will be happy together in heaven.  Even after Henry’s unjust treatment of him and of the Church.

Let us pray for constant conversion and making a good death.

Today, I have said Holy Mass, asking the grace of a good death and I added orations for my enemies.

Please, Lord, preserve both them and me from a sudden and unprovided death.  Give them what they truly need for their own good and the good of others.

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14 Responses to WDTPRS: Prayer for enemies – Part III

  1. chantgirl says:

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pbs-lawyer-caught-on-tape-celebrating-republican-deaths-advocating-re-education-camps?utm_source=top_news&utm_campaign=standard

    It is one thing for me to forgive an enemy who hurts me; it is quite another thing to forgive someone who intends harm to my children. That grace may only be found in the mystery of love which took place under the Cross as a Mother beheld her dying Son.

    However, as a priest told me recently, only Christ was born to die. I took that as my marching orders to pray for the enemies of my family/children while working to thwart their evil designs.

  2. Ms. M-S says:

    We have the perfect lesson in “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

  3. Semper Gumby says:

    chantgirl: Good points. Christianity is not a suicide cult and the U.S. Declaration of Independence and Constitution is not a suicide pact. The PBS lawyer has now been fired.

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  5. VForr says:

    ” I fear these people are so engrained in their ways that only suffering will help them to wake up to the peril they are in. I fear that the Enemy has their claws into them. I want for them graces for conversion or, alternatively, necessary afflictions which God might allow – along with graces – to bring them to their senses.”

    I know you are speaking of enemies in this series, but there is another group I am reminded of when reading the above words. How about lukewarm, faded away, or lost souls, especially baptized Catholic ones, who seem to be in the claws of the Enemy? I have more than a few of those in my life and I pray for their conversions. Should I be asking in prayer that these souls may be brought to their senses?

  6. VForr says:

    ” I fear these people are so engrained in their ways that only suffering will help them to wake up to the peril they are in. I fear that the Enemy has their claws into them. I want for them graces for conversion or, alternatively, necessary afflictions which God might allow – along with graces – to bring them to their senses.”

    I know you are speaking of enemies in this series, but there is another group I am reminded of when reading the above words. How about lukewarm, faded away, or lost souls, especially baptized Catholic ones, who seem to be in the claws of the Enemy? I have more than a few of those in my life and I pray for their conversions. Should I be asking in prayer that these souls may be brought to their senses?

  7. JonPatrick says:

    I have often thought that when the good die young and evil ones (like George Soros and Nancy Pelosi) seem to go on forever is that God is giving the latter every chance to repent of their sins, so He keeps them around. We can pray that that conversion takes place.

  8. Fr_Sotelo says:

    Fr. Z,

    How good for you to pray for your enemies, for they “have raised up their hand against the anointed of the Lord” (1 Samuel 24:6). If David felt he would incur punishment from God for harming King Saul, imagine the wrath that awaits those who attack a priest of Jesus Christ.

    As a newly ordained, a local funeral worker (a non-Catholic) used to badmouth me for my “medieval style of worship.” After one particular funeral, he ridiculed my black vestments, etc. When a parishioner told me what he was up to, I simply said, “I’m not worried. The Lord does battle for me.”

    That night, the man dropped dead from a heart attack and word got around, “Don’t mess with Fr. Angel.” I assured people that I had nothing to do with what happened. But people said, that there is still a lesson to be learned.

    The good God knows that we priests are not always shining examples, and that more often than not, we cause problems for the Church.

    But that is not free reign, that is not license to come after us and attack us, as if God will not defend Himself in His anointed ministers (He said this to St. Catherine of Siena). Even David knew that although King Saul’s behavior was evil, he would incur God’s punishment to raise up his hand against the anointed king of Israel. God never gave David permission to attack the King.

    In 30 years as a priest, I have never seen the attackers of priests “get away with it.” Not even when they attacked priests who were “bad priests.” In some cases, God has eventually allowed such people to be afflicted with punishment, and even with great sufferings. People often forget the eternal seal of Holy Orders–God does not.

    By praying for your enemies, you are certainly helping them to “escape the wrath that is to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

    This is important for us priests, that we tell God that our enemies rarely, fully understand what they are doing. And that “forgive them, for they know not what they do” is a true imitation of the Lord. If your persecutors don’t learn from God’s hints, have no doubt that the Lord does battle for you, His anointed.

    [>>By praying for your enemies, you are certainly helping them to “escape the wrath that is to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).]

  9. Once upon a time a priest came to our home for dinner. He was talking about praying for our enemies and that for some it was very hard to do. He offered a way to do it that I will never forget and the image stays in my mind and always will. He said to picture Jesus standing in front you with your enemy right next to Him, also in front of you. See Jesus with His arm around your enemy’s shoulder while pointing at them and looking you straight in the eyes and saying, “I did for them too.”

  10. sorry, “I died” not did

  11. GregB says:

    One the concerns that I have with forgiveness is the way that this is construed often appears to absolve wrongdoers of any need to repent. To me this is the foundation of the universalist idea of an empty hell. Do wrongdoers need to repent of their sins before entering heaven, or is God so merciful that unrepentant mortal sinners not only enter heaven, but can continue to commit mortal sins in heaven so that God can continue to show His ongoing mercifulness? If there is no need for repentance then there is no need for Purgatory or the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Original Sin promised absolute power that would do away with personal accountability. Confession before a priest makes clear the sinner’s accountability before God for their sins. Accountability is the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness. Under current circumstances a life of holiness and perfection appears to be a pointless absurdity. It’s as if a life of virtue itself is a sin against mercy.
    *
    Repentance free forgiveness played a major role in making the clerical abuse scandal as bad as it is, what with all the catch and release that was going on. In certain cases forgiveness can be twisted to enable further wrongdoing, damaging more people. Buck passing clerical corruption helped to greatly fuel the Protestant Revolt. When King Solomon got too high and mighty God allowed his kingdom to be divided. God also allowed a Catholic Church that had gotten too high and mighty to be torn asunder by the Protestant Revolt and made Christianity a divided kingdom. God only said that the Church as whole would endure, with no mention as to how big or small it would be at any given time. Despite pleas for forgiveness from Christ and St. Stephen God allowed the destruction of Israel and the Second Temple in 70 AD. Even in New Testament times the Old Testament punishments appear to retain their potency.
    *
    My main concern is the lack of balance between justice and mercy. Justice without mercy can be unjust. In the same way mercy without justice can be merciless. I’m wondering if we can strike a balance between justice and mercy?

  12. pcg says:

    Thank you Father for this discussion on forgiving enemies. I have been struggling with this for several years now. It has been especially difficult because the people involved are immediate family. I have told them I forgive them because I must-Christ has demanded this of us. I have told myself this is an act of my will, not based on my feelings; otherwise, I would not be capable of forgiving them. And yet, the wounds of what they have done are still so painful that I am always asking can I forgive as an act of will and not feel that I am forgiving from the heart?

  13. Semper Gumby says:

    GregB: Good points.

    “One of the concerns that I have with forgiveness is the way that this is construed often appears to absolve wrongdoers of any need to repent. To me this is the foundation of the universalist idea of an empty hell.”

    “Accountability is the difference between righteousness and self-righteousness.”

    “It’s as if a life of virtue itself is a sin against mercy.”

    “God also allowed a Catholic Church that had gotten too high and mighty to be torn asunder by the Protestant Revolt and made Christianity a divided kingdom.”

    “Justice without mercy can be unjust. In the same way mercy without justice can be merciless.”

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