A Prayer for Our Persecutors
by John Dear
“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43)
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” (Luke 6:28)
A few weeks before he died in 2002, the great peace activist Philip Berrigan was asked what we could do about George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the U.S. warmakers.
“We have to do two things,” he answered. “We have to pray for them and resist them.”
That parting wisdom sums up the mission before us, to pray for our persecutors, bless the warmakers, and resist them with all our strength and love by opposing their wars, weapons, greed, injustices, and environmental destruction.
In that Spirit, here goes then:
God of peace, bless the mass murderers who organize the deaths of millions of your suffering people from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine to Haiti, Sudan and Colombia, who ignore the cry of the poor from Africa to Latin America, who heed the voice of the superrich, who lead the world toward the brink of destruction, specifically, namely, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and their killers, these modern day Caesars and Pilates who crucify the world’s poor.
Bless all those in the U.S. imperial forces, the Joint Chiefs, the generals, the commanders, the bombers, the bombmakers, the pilots, the obedient soldiers, the recruiters, the marines, the torturers, the CIA agents, all who kill, who promote killing, who organize the killing, who order the killing, who fund the killing, all servants of death.
Bless all murderers and warmakers around the world, all who blow people up, who use violence for revolution or political gain, all who profit from war, all the corporate billionaires and their lawyers.
Bless those morally retarded, possessed, law abiding, obedient citizens who build and maintain nuclear weapons at Los Alamos, Livermore Labs, Oak Ridge, and elsewhere. Bless those who guard the nuclear bunkers, manage them, and prepare to push the button.
Bless the executioners on death row, the judges who sentence people to death, the lawyers and prosecutors who legalize murder.
Bless all Wall Street brokers and bankers and businessmen and corporate executives who reap a profit off the poverty, misery, squalor, hunger and death of the world’s poor.
Bless all the brutalized and brutalizing in prisons, all police officers, FBI agents, immigration agents, marshals, prison guards, sheriffs, and law officers who hurt and imprison your victimized people.
Bless all the senators, congress people, governors and Chief Justices who run the American empire which crushes and kills people everywhere.
Bless all racists, all sexist men, all who hurt children, all who refuse to love, all who shut people out, all who dehumanize others, and all the pharmaceutical and insurance company managers who oppose universal healthcare, who prevent free medicine from healing those with AIDS and HIV.
Bless the editors, reporters, news anchors and advertisers who run the media which supports the culture of war, who publish the myths, tell the lies and announce the bad news, who look for profit instead of searching for truth.
Bless those who destroy the earth, who bulldoze the rain forests, who run the logging companies, who steal the oil, who pollute the air, poison the oceans, hunt your creatures, destroy the ozone, operate nuclear power plants, radiate your land, risk global warming and spread the plague of cancer through their nuclear industries.
Bless all the empire’s chaplains who honor the forces of war with your name, all the mean priests, bully ministers, law and order bishops, cardinals and popes who love power more than you, who punish and condemn, who refuse to welcome and forgive, who seek control and domination instead of your reign of justice, equality and peace.
Forgive them. They know not what they do.
May we all resist the structures of violence and makers of war.
May we all be converted to the wisdom of nonviolence, compassion and disarmament.
May we all one day be blessed with the gift of your peace, a new world without war, hunger, poverty, injustice or nuclear weapons. Amen.
John Dear is a Jesuit priest and the author/editor of 20 books on peace and nonviolence, including most recently, “The Questions of Jesus” and “Living Peace” (both from Doubleday). He is currently organizing a demonstration at Los Alamos, New Mexico for August 6th, Hiroshima Day. For info, see: www.johndear.org
Originally published at http://www.johndear.org/ and reprinted with permission of the author.