In Communion with Prisoners
Day 5 – Christmas Novena
O Key of David, opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom: Come and free the prisoners in darkness!
God, loving Father of all humankind, you have revealed yourself through history as the One who is with us. You told Moses that you have seen how your people were treated in Egypt, that you heard them cry out to be rescued from slavery, that you know all about their sufferings and plan to lead them into freedom.
You have sent Jesus, your Son, whose coming into our lives we expect every year anew, as the one who announces release to the captives and freedom to those in prison.
You have sent your Spirit in whom we enjoy the freedom of being your children and through whom even creation will be set free from its slavery to share the glorious freedom of the children of God.
As you are with us, you ask us today to be in loving communion with all who are deprived of their freedom, justly or unjustly. We, who often feel imprisoned within ourselves and the many influences that take away our freedom, desire to stand in solidarity with all, pleading:
“Maranatha! Come, Lord, to set us free“!
Thomas, a young man from Singapore, was among the 16 prisoners suffering from HIV-Aids, whom we visited every second week. He had smuggled drugs to Taiwan so as to get money for his medical treatment and was sentenced to death. He was very sick, withdrawn and difficult to approach.
I knew it would not be easy to find trust in that group. But my 70th birthday became an occasion to open up hearts. I was allowed to bring two delicious cakes and Coca Cola to have a celebration together. Prison personnel were alarmed: “How can you eat with them and shake hands with them?”
But the prisoners, feeling accepted and respected, opened up. I so desired to let them experience, through human love and care, that they are loved by God and precious in his eyes, despite drug addiction, sickness or crime.
Slowly things also changed for Thomas. His death sentence was changed to life imprisonment. He is taken care of medically, can laugh again and knows he is accepted. While the group kept changing, Thomas is still there, but he even sings and dreams of being released someday. My hope is, that one day he will come to fully entrust himself into the hands of God.
God with us, Emmanuel, we bring to you all who are imprisoned in one way or another; Let them experience your love through the human care and respect they receive.
Let them take responsibility for the hurts they caused and find healing from the hurts they suffered; Let them find support through friends who don‘t give up on them and experience reconciliation in broken relationships.
Let them (us) find through you the strength to be freed from all that binds us.
Father of Mercy, the secrets of all hearts are known to you alone. You know who is just and you forgive the unjust. You alone are the Almighty Judge. We are not worthy of judging anyone. Your mercy is enough for sinners. Hear our prayers for those in prison. Give them repentance and let them believe in you. Give them patience and hope in their sufferings, and bring them home again soon. Comfort their near and dear ones. Let them trust in Jesus Christ and live with hope. Amen.
Click here for the complete text of Christmas Novena 2016 (in different languages).