Silence: The Doorway for the Spirit of God to Enter:
Went to prison on Friday as usual. Changed my game plan since one inmate indicated he needed silent time. He told me in prison there is no silence unless: Something not good has happened or is going to happen. Tension exists when silence permeates a prison.
Adoration: Worshiping the Eucharist – The Body of Christ:
Yep that was my game plan. Light a candle and Expose the Eucharist on a small table in the room so the inmates who come can worship and adore the Body of Christ! Not so sure all Catholic’s let alone Christians understand the Eucharist, Silence let alone Adoration?
The Real Presence:
For twenty minutes in silence we sat, kneel ed, and prayed! Then I broke the silence and asked them to reflect upon their individual sins. After another fifteen minutes I again interrupted and asked them to join me in praying as perfect an Act of Contrition as we possible could!
Act of Contrition:
Oh my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of the loss of heaven and the pains of hell. But most of all because they offend Thee, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins and amend my life. Amen.
Since these inmates are and have been confined to prison and no priest has visited for over 3 years – this is the best we can do! I tell them the next time a Catholic priest is available, grad them by the arm and ask them will you please hear your confession!
Communion Service – Outside Mass:
After the Act of Contrition, I ask them to join me in celebrating a Communion Service. We begin with the Sign of the Cross, an opening prayer and the Penitential Right. Next we begin the Liturgy of the Word from Scripture.
At the moment I begin to proclaim the Gospel, a young man knocks at the door. We invite him in and ask how we can help him. We discover he is looking for information regarding the Catholic Religion. So heck we ask him to stay with us as we celebrate and briefly explain what we are doing.
At the conclusion of the service we ask him to stay and ask whatever questions he has for us in regard to his queries! Lord Have Mercy! He is interested in learning more about the Catholic faith and the difference between the protestant and Catholic Religions.
In my book is timing is perfect. One of the older inmates was recently turned down for parole and it was clear to me his disappointment took a spiritual tole on him. To my great delight, this inmate took the greatest interest in answering this young mans questions. It was a perfect opportunity for him to share his faith journey and in depth learning during his many years of incarceration. Lord have mercy! I sense the excitement in his manner and voice. A rich opportunity to share his faith and journey to discerning the word of God. Holy Smokes – sure appeared to me the Holy Spirit had set this even up. It was uplifting! In fact I would say both the young man and the veteran inmate were lifting each other up as words and explanations were exchanged.
to be continued …….