I’ll answer the challenge!

Ivy has written a weblog entry about the Pope’s changes to the Latin version of the Good Friday intercessions. (Most of us will be using the local-language version, which is different. Most of those using Latin…won’t understand it. Keep that in mind.)

In short, the Pope took out some bad language, but the general thrust of the prayer is still that the Jewish people receive redemption through Christ’s suffering.

My first thought is, “So?” because it’s not really a secret that the Catholic Church believes every human being who makes it into Heaven will do so through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The wording doesn’t seem to me to be a full-out cry for converting Jews, nor does it insult the faith. Jesus and Mary were both, one might remember, Jewish.

Ivy has a great idea, though: since God is the one answering the prayers, and God won’t lead us into error, she encourages everyone to go for it! In fact, she wants to initiate a prayer-challenge: let Jews pray for the enlightenment of Catholics, and Catholics can pray for the enlightenment of Jews, and let God decide how to parcel out the blessings, and of what nature those blessings might be.

Because it sounds to me like the media is pot-stirring again. The same intercessions also call for the conversion of atheists and for Christians who aren’t Catholic, plus for the closer union of all souls (including the Pope’s!) with God. Yet no one is complaining about the other prayers. And pot-stirring usually comes from the grand pot-stirrer himself, AKA the enemy. The enemy doesn’t like prayer in general, so let’s all pray enough that he smacks himself in the forehead and says, “Why did I ever think that was a good idea?”

It’s got to be done in as non-divisive a way as possible, so if anyone prays for anyone else to be blessed…don’t tell the person or persons-in-general that you’re doing it. God will know, and God’s the one giving away the blessings in the first place.

Here’s my suggested prayer formula, although I did it free-form in my head last night, and where I put {name} you can put in a person, a category of persons, or the whole world:

    Most Holy and Loving God,
    You love us with an urgency beyond understanding,
    And you want more good for us than we want for ourselves.
    Please take {name} into your hands today and shower your blessings on him/her/them.
    Grant {name} a holy wisdom and insight into Your heart.
    Please show your kindness and bring {name} close to you
    In exactly the way you want.
    Enlighten {name} and give {name} the grace to fully relate to you
    In the way You have intended for him/her from all time.
    You want more good for {name} than I could possibly understand,
    So I’m asking for you to make it real in {name}’s life, heart, and soul.
    Show your power and your love.
    Please have mercy on me, and on {name}, and on the whole world.

Something along those lines. Done in private. I cannot see how the enemy could twist that around. (Even ardent atheists wouldn’t object to a prayer you haven’t told them you’re saying!) And if enough people pray for simple, pure, altruistic goodness and grace for other people…what’s the harm? And maybe a whole lot of good can come of it.

As Ivy says, “Bring it on!” I know I could use the prayers.


  1. karen =^.,.^=

    thought about your blog post most of the night (couldn’t sleep for various reasons). i particularly liked the construction of the prayer – for His will, not what i think might be best for a certain person (i think brimstone, You think warm hugs… obviously YOU know best!) i’m so glad He does know best (even the un-understanderable best) because it befuddles me most of the time. anyway, i like the challenge and i’d be grateful for those prayers as well. ^.,.^

  2. CricketB

    As an agnostic, that is a prayer I will use. It respects the recipient’s choice of faith and method of worship.