Monday, April 30, 2012

Prayer against persecutors...




I noticed a prayer against persecutors on another blog.  I immediately thought of how Our Lord counseled, "pray for those who persecute you" and thought to myself: 'In that case, isn't it rather strange for a Christian to pray against his persecutors?'  Unless of course one is praying for protection and the defeat of the evil one, as in the prayer of St. Michael, or the invocation to the Holy Face, "Arise O Lord and let thy enemies be scattered, and let those that hate you flee from before your holy Face."  The psalms are a rich resource for prayers for protection against enemies, but I think in the New Covenant these are more or less against our spiritual foes - the fallen spirits, the Devil and his minions.  

In the Our Father, we ask to be delivered from evil, or the evil one - which is a way of praying against evil.  Yet we are instructed to forgive our human enemies, those who trespass against us, while asking to be delivered from temptation and evil.  Christ didn't really instruct us to call down wrath upon our human persecutors or those who disagree with us.  In fact Christ rebuked the disciples who wanted to call down fire from heaven upon those who rejected their preaching.  Although I'm sure, out of charity, one can and ought to pray against persecutors as it affects others, yet when it comes to personal attacks, it seems to me we do well to pray for our persecutors and enemies.

In persecution, St. Peter tells us to "Rejoice instead, in the measure that you share Christ's sufferings... Happy are you when you are insulted for the sake of Christ..."  But what if we are persecuted, or suffer for something we may deserve?  Or perhaps we suffer some setback to be saved from an even greater evil?  What if our suffering is a necessary correction?  Something God wills for our sanctification?  Are we to pray for God's wrath upon our enemies?

See?  So it makes more sense to me to not spend so much energy harboring resentment and wishing and hoping and praying for some great chastisement to befall those we perceive to be our enemies, but rather, leave such matters to God.  I think it is better to follow Christ's admonition to "love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, and to pray for your persecutors."  As St. Paul writes: "Rather, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.' Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good."   It has been my experience that there is no greater good one can do for one's enemies than to pray for them.

Please correct me if I am wrong.  Thank you.

4 comments:

  1. I don't think you are wrong ...

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  2. You're not wrong...

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  3. Thank You Terry: Complex & Deep, as usual, why I visit here so frequently. Lou

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  4. I believe you are correct. Prayers for persecutors should at base be a subset of the prayers for the conversion of sinners.

    ReplyDelete

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