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Letter from a prisoner






Got a letter from a prisoner

            One of my faults in writing letters is that I tend to wait for a while before I write back.   I was having a problem reaching a prisoner because they kept moving him, and so I got back three letters that were not forwarded.  I kind of gave up, thinking, hopefully, that he was finally released.  It turned out I was right. However, I did not find out in a happy way.  He told me that he was ‘back’ in prison, this time for two years, which does not sound like a long time, but being locked up, I think it probably is.
            I do not know how many times he has been locked up, but I think this his second time, if it was his third I believe the sentence can be much longer, and even for life.  I do not know his crime, hardly look that up.  I have only done it twice because it was something I needed to do.
            I do believe that he is serious about turning his life around, but as some of the men I write to have told me, that they have serious impulse problems.  I guess we all struggle with that but perhaps for some, it is a real problem.
            Many of the men I write to come across as very intelligent, and some do indeed turn their lives around and never go back to jail.   I believe that around 60 percent never return to prison. 
            I have an aspect of my interior that could be called lawless, and I guess that is one reason that I understand the need for discipline in my interior life, as well as for my dealings with those around me.  Not sure we can get away from that need.   Freedom is always doing what one wants.  Compulsion plays a large role in our everyday lives, more perhaps that many would like not to think about.  The road to freedom is a long one. 
            To love as Jesus loves, means that there is a need for self-knowledge, and inner strength to fight against our tendency to be self-centered and only concerned with those we know and love and forget the rest.  Many would deny this, and if they do, I hope that they are right.  However, I am not one of those good souls.
            I believe that all those who seek to live a life seeking to help and serve others are responding to God’s grace.   They are seekers, and Jesus promised that those who seek will find.  A seeker will rejoice to learn the truth, those who do  not seek, may hate the truth when presented to them.  In the end we either bend our knee to truth in joy, or by necessity even if that truth is hated.
            God’s grace keeps us from closing in on ourselves to the exclusion of others.  Grace also puts a void into our hearts that won’t go away until we experience what is the only thing that can fill that void.   That is the Infinite love of God, as shown to us by Christ Jesus. 
            There are two gates that we must enter.  One is the gate of mercy, healing, and salvation, the other is the gate of justice.  Mercy and justice are not opposed, but in the end, we choose one or the other. 
            When we pray, each time we open our hearts, our ability to love God and others grows, slowly perhaps, but grow it does.  So, pray, open your hearts, and move forward in faith hope and love, watered by trust.-Br.MD


Edited by markdohle
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