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”.
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.