Peace to all men of ill will! May all vengeance and all calls for punishment cease. Crime figures are soaring out of control, there are too many martyrs…
Lord, do not weigh their suffering on your scales of justice or record the torturers’ terrible debt. Let all debts be settled in a different way.
Credit the torturers, informers, traitors and all men of ill will with the courage and spiritual strength of others, their humility, dignity, their constant internal struggle and their ineffable hope, the smile which dries their tears, their love, their broken hearts which remain firm and faithful unto death, yes, even in those moments of greatest weakness…
We place all this before you, O Lord, for the forgiveness of sins, as a ransom for the triumph of justice. May good be taken into account, not evil!
And may the victims remain in the minds of those who persecute them, not as nightmares or ghosts to haunt their every step, but as support in their own efforts to extinguish the fury of their criminal passions.
We ask for nothing more.
And when all is done, Lord, let the victims live as men among men, and may peace return to our poor world, peace for all men of good will and for all others.
This prayer was found in the archives of a concentration camp in Germany.
Extract from ’Prière vivante’ [Living Prayer] by Mgr Antoine Bloom (publ. by Cerf).