Two days ago, I posted about how it struck me that while I certainly never liked bin Laden, I also had never prayed for him to convert from embracing violence to embracing peace and compassionate understanding. Since then I’ve tried to pray more for that kind of intention.
During today’s rosary, it struck me that when we’re praying for the enlightenment or conversion of terrorists — and now I’m thinking specifically of bin Laden’s lieutenants who are going to scramble to gain control of the organization — we need to pray not only that God turns their hearts from violence, but also that God gives them a way out.
Because they’re so steeped in a mindset of violence, and so entangled in an organization that promotes violence, that saying otherwise may well get them killed. And we can see why fear of retaliation might be a deterrent to heeding a call of God toward peace.
Heavenly Father, please extend your grace toward those who would do violence in your name. Please, God, in your great mercy, please touch their hearts and lead them toward peace. Please lead them to a truer understanding of your goodness and compassion, so they can set down the sword and work with you to forward the agenda of charity, of healing, of understanding and wisdom.
Please, Father, give these men and woman a way to escape the chains of violence, even the chains they forged themselves, and please remove all the road blocks to grace. Please give them an escape route so they can come closer to you in freedom and safety.
Father, we beg you to protect all of us from violence. Please turn all men’s hearts away from violence, and shield your children from retaliation whenever one of us begins moving closer to you.
We ask this in your Holy Name. Amen.