A thought struck me as I was praying my rosary last night. I was in bed, barely conscious, struggling to stay awake to finish my last couple of decades. I think I drifted off somewhere in the middle of the fourth Joyful Mystery, but not before a powerful and humbling realization occurred to me.
It happened as I prayed the words of the Fatima Prayer, or the “O My Jesus.” Their meaning hit me in a new way ~ in a way that applies to some of the disturbing recent events in our society, and that gave me a different perspective on these situations.
What are some of the horrible events I have in mind? There is of course the recent Planned Parenthood scandal, which revealed the company’s selling of the body parts of aborted babies. Not to mention the drama with Planned Parenthood’s president that has followed. Articles about this disgusting, heartbreaking situation have been flooding my Facebook newsfeed lately, and the whole thing makes me both angry and sad.
I read a news story the other day about two teenage brothers who stabbed to death their parents and three of their siblings (between the ages of 5 and 12), leaving only two of their siblings alive (a 2-year-old and a 13-year-old). It is a tragedy that disturbed me to the core, and that has destroyed people’s lives, and that doesn’t make any sense.
A massive satanic statue was erected in Detroit this past weekend. It was unveiled in an undisclosed location in front of a couple hundred satanists who were cheering and yelling, “Hail, Satan.” I live in the metro-Detroit area ~ this disturbing event is way too close to home for my liking. And furthermore, let me tell you, Satan does not need to be in Detroit. Anyone who’s ever been to Detroit knows how devastated, terrifying, and godless that city is.
What kind of terrible person do you have to be to kill an unborn child and sell their body parts for profit? Or to murder gruesomely your own parents and young siblings? Or to worship Satan? These kind of people are alive and active in our society right now, committing terrible actions. What are we to do about them? What are we to do in this world, with all of this deeply disturbing, grave immorality going on around us?
I know that I sometimes find myself judging these people and the state of their soul. Seeing them as disgusting and wicked human beings. Feeling angry over the awful things they do.
But the words of the “O My Jesus” have a different ring to them. The prayer goes, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fires of hell; lead all souls to heaven, especially those in most need of Thy mercy.”
Not some souls. Not the best souls. All souls. “Lead all souls to heaven.”
“Especially those in most need of Thy mercy.” Not especially the virtuous ones. Not especially the holiest ones. The ones in most need of mercy.
As I prayed the “O My Jesus” last night, the meaning of those words really sunk in, as my mind immediately thought of all the people involved in the ungodly situations that I mentioned. The president of Planned Parenthood. The troubled teenage brothers. The Satanists. They are in dire, dire need of mercy. They are among those who are in most need of mercy.
And Jesus wants them in heaven. He aches for all souls to go to heaven, even those who are seemingly the worst of the worst.
And we as Christians are called to pray for them. That is what these people need. Not judgment, not rejection, not condemnation. But prayer. Their broken, misguided souls need us to pray for them to Jesus, that He would have mercy on them.
And we need to want heaven for them. We are called to desire that their souls would get to heaven, just as Jesus does. And we must do our part in trying to make that happen, by praying for them. Whether they repent and convert or not lies on them; it is out of our hands. But what is in our hands is the ability to pray for them. And we must pray.
So in the midst of all these horrific, immoral events happening in our world right now, we must remember the words of the Fatima Prayer and heed their meaning. Jesus wants all souls in heaven, especially those in most need of His mercy. And as we remember this message, we cannot forget to pray for just that: for these misguided souls to receive mercy and heaven.