Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Praying for Enemies

Anselm, a philosopher who lived in the 11th century, was one of the most profound and deeply spiritual minds the Christian Movement has ever produced. Here is how he taught that we should pray for our enemies.

Tomorrow we'll talk about one reason loving your enemies and forgiveness are so important in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth.


Almighty and tender Lord Jesus Christ,

I have asked you to be good to my friends,

and now I bring before you what I desire in my heart

for my enemies...

You alone, Lord, are mighty;

you alone are merciful;

whatever you make me desire for my enemies,

give it to them and give the same back to me,

and if what I ask for them at any time

is outside the rule of charity,

whether through weakness, ignorance, or malice,

good Lord, do not give it to them

and do not give it back to me.


Your slave begs you for his fellow slaves,

lest because of me they offend

against the kindness of so good and great a lord.

Let them be reconciled to you and in concord with me,

according to your will and for your own sake.


This is the punishment

that in the secret of my heart

I want to exact

for those who serve with me and those who sin with me –

this is the punishment that I ask

for those who serve with me and hate me –

let us love you and each other

as you will and as is expedient for us,

so that we may make amends to the good Lord

for our own and for each other’s offences;

so that we may obey with one heart in love

one Lord and one Master.

This is the revenge your sinner asks

on all who wish him evil and act against him.

Most merciful Lord,

prepare the same punishment for your sinner.

I have prayed as a weak man and a sinner;

you who are mighty and merciful, hear my prayer.

(From Ward, Benedicta. Prayers and Meditations of St. Anselm With the Proslogion. New York: Penguin, 1973)

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