for a way out

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.


  1. Mary333

    I never thought about this aspect of being a terrorist – similar to being in a gang or a member of the Mafia. I guess the repercussions could be brutal for those who try to leave.

    I prayed this prayer with you, Jane. It’s very beautiful.

  2. Monica


  3. arianne


    Just wanted to say that I am so glad that you exist in the world. I usually avoid talking about religion, because I have found that the people who really really want to talk about it are usually those who will judge others for an hour, then walk by the homeless guy without a glance.

    You talk about the god I believe in; with grace, charity, understanding of frailties and difficulty, humor and love. I have read your writing for years, between another website and your blog, and regardless of the topic, your amazing thoughtfulness shines through your words. I just wanted to take a minute to thank you – for being wonderful, and for taking the time to write your website and share the wonderful. I always feel a little bit closer to god after I read your post in the morning.

    (I think I may made a similar comment a year or two ago – you keep being awesome, and I will keep periodically commenting on it 🙂

    1. philangelus

      Thank you, but really, I fall far short of even my own standards. You get a sanitized version of my thoughts on the blog. Thank you for reading, and I’m glad you get something from this community here.