Praying for the Dead
What I mean by “the dead” are those people on Earth who have lived in such a deep pit of darkness for so long that it has become their home.
My question is, How do we pray for those who have lost their ability to know the truth about life? That there is a sun. Deep green forests. Other people who have never lived in the deep.
I am trained to my bones to know that there is only one unforgivable sin. All others can be forgiven.
But how do you forgive a shadow?
I am thinking especially about people who claim to be Christians. Who exhibit a devoutness, even, that others might envy. Whose commitment to the church appears permanent and solid.
And yet they are complicit in horrors that they willingly go along with. And get to a point where they believe that they cannot be forgiven for their sins. That there have been so many and they have gone on for so long that there is no way back to the light.
It’s the illusion of the line. That they have stepped over it, and having done this, all is lost.
They assume the role of one screaming in hell for all eternity. And their bodies have not yet shuffled off this mortal coil.
The living dead. Or, perhaps better, the dead living. Still breathing. Yet lost in their own—is it self-pity? or self-satisfaction? Are they grieving their imagined fate? Or are they secretly pleased that they have managed to get away with so much?
Do they feel free from having to “answer” to God? Be responsible for the people around them? Live a decent life?
I think such a profound prayer of forgiveness needs company. That praying with others, together, would alleviate the stress I think, just as carrying a heavy burden is made easier when others help.
Another thing might be to break the prayer into the tiniest pieces that you can manage. To just keep breaking it down into “handleable” prayers. Prayers that seem normal. Leave the big, horrific acts until you have found your willing to be doing this.
It would be important, should you take this on, to be spiritually cleansed and healed on a very regular basis. Health workers must take in others’ toxins and need to flush them out of their bodies as often as possible. Exercise is a good way. Spiritual direction. Nature. We are expected to find our own healing when we need it.
And if we are going to step over our own line of revulsion and reach out to God on behalf of people that would make us ill to sit across at the dinner table, then we need to do whatever it takes to keep our souls healthy.
This kind of thing is a mission of sorts. A purposeful trek across a wasteland, where our hearts have to strain to feel compassion, and our only reward is the knowledge that we are living out God’s command: to forgive others as he forgives us.