Thursday, May 5, 2011

C. S. Lewis on Praying for One's Enemies

The practical problem about charity (in one’s prayer) is very hard work, isn’t it? When you pray for Hitler and Stalin how do you actually teach yourself to make the prayer real? The two things that help me are (a) A continual grasp of the idea that one is only joining one’s feeble little voice to the perpetual intercession of Christ who died for these very men. (b) A recollection, as firm as I can make it, of all one’s own cruelty; which might have blossomed under different conditions into something terrible. You and I are not at bottom so different from these ghastly creatures.

Letter to Dom Bede Griffiths, 16 Apr 1940

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Matt.

I think we would all do well to remember that the Other, most particularly the Hated Other, is more like Self than not, and far more like Self than we might like to think.

I am a probation officer, and I am constantly reminded that I am much more like criminals than unlike them, because I so much like THIS criminal.

The only explanation I can come up with for why I have a badge in my pocket instead of a box on my ankle is just plain Grace.