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"Visiting the imprisoned"

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"Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself" (Heb 13:3). It often happens that we forget people that we haven’t seen for a long time, and yet we know that they are our  brothers  like the others. In the case of prisoners the consideration can not be different. Just as if they should need any more effort, given the hardness of hearts.

It's amazing the order with which Jesus Himself in Matthew 25 showed a scale of  poverty in a swell of attention, care and mercy. The hungry, the thirsty, the sick are figures affected by disasters, in need of material and spiritual help, as we saw, but the attention towards the prisoner becomes more considerable. In addition to being the victim of a condition,  he is marked by a crime that led him to this condition.

In Scripture we find that the crime that led many men to prison is the manifestation of faith toward God, as the prophets in their freedom to proclaim the word of God. About Jeremiah we read that he is persecuted, jailed and beaten as a traitor because of his prophetic message that goes against the projects  of the rulers.

Christianity in its early beginnings was a cause of persecution. Jesus is the first of many that were imprisoned and persecuted for religious and political reasons, Peter and Paul follow and, as Jesus Himself had announced, all those who undertake His discipleship may be delivered in  prisons because of His name ( cf Lk 21,12).

Moreover, all this corresponds to a strong Christian solidarity with the prisoners: prayer as in the case of Peter (Acts 12: 5); they were provided with food, often because they were also deprived of it; collections for the needy including the brothers that had been imprisoned .

The prisoner experiences a very difficult state. His situation is very delicate, and those who are about to visit them should be able to fit this delicacy. Even those who do not visit the prisoners should learn to be more indulgent. God does not exclude them,  He doesn’t remove us. Jesus became the companion of sinners,  He identified Himself with the prisoner allowing they put him in prison; He identified  Himself with  the worst  of culprits, causing repugnance in those who saw Him, and accused him of the evil committed.

Visiting the prisoner involves a real, profound self-examination: First to consider that no one is righteous before God, even if you live outside of the structure. The security of being innocent already denotes an attitude of judgment for the other and this is not a Christian behavior. In the passage of Luke 18:9-14, the Pharisee is a keen observer of the Law and customary practices for the fulfillment of God's will, but he doesn’t disdain to judge himself above the other.

Other aspects to take into consideration are the deprivation of liberty to which the prisoner is forced; the shame that constantly knocks to his conscience, the self-condemnation that makes him weak; the awareness of our own weakness that leads us to be as many criminals, perpetrators of evil, impurity and cruelty (cf. Mk 7:21).

Only with this awareness you can get into the right relationship with the prisoner, who is often also the victim of loneliness. In fact not all have families who visit them. Many among them, are foreigners, immigrants as we are still seeing through the media. If no one tries to approach them to establish a dialogue, a knowledge with them they are forced to feel doubly marginalized.


The greatest danger is that this loneliness and this lack of freedom can lead the prisoner to totally reject life and attempt, sometimes succeeding suicide. The visit, the dialogue should serve to restore confidence, to mean that the evil he committed shall not exceed in value man. God placed man above everything, even  above the crime in which he fell, and it is worth reminding those who are in rebellion with themselves.

Prisons have always been places where God’s mercy has been shown in an extraordinary way, precisely through those who carry this difficult and delicate work of charity " I was in prison and you came to me" (Mt 25:36). The chaplains of prisons can testify to the rebirth of many lives that seemed already lost.

The prisoner should be helped to come out first and foremost by the inner prison in which he put himself because of the crime that he committed, he should be helped to deal with the crime of which he is guilty to understand the detention and live it as a favorable time to recover himself, to be at peace with himself. His collaboration  is essential to return to freedom, to exit not only from the material  prison but also and from the inner one.

The prison is a symbol of the endless prisons that man builds around himself and in which  he put himself voluntarily. Passions, vices, ambitions are real prisons to man. They damage his freedom and in contrast to what he might think he is enchained,  he becomes a slave and prisoner.

In the light of the Divine Will,  when Jesus allowed Himself to be put in prison, immobilized and bound and to a column, He intended to unleash the chains of our sins to tie us with the chains of His love, that don’t imprison, but free.

It’s His incessant love, the Excesses of His love for the creature that led Him into three prisons, as He himself explained it to Luisa when she wanted to resist the reading of the Excesses, by don Benedetto Calvi, at the House of Divine Will.

The first prison was the womb of Mary in which, a God who descends from Heaven to earth, reduces Himself for nine months;

The second, which was formed within this very prison, was the prison of His Humanity that imprisoned His Divinity. It lasted thirty-three years;

The third is the prison of the Eucharist.

In the first two prisons, He matured the Kingdom of Redemption; in the third prison of the Eucharist He is maturing the Kingdom of the  Divine Fiat

His humanity was a continuous act of reparation and adoration to the Father that continues in the sacrament of the altar. By virtue of this Jesus wanted Luisa to visit Him thirty-three times a day, honoring His thirty-three years and also uniting with Him in the Sacrament with His own intentions – that is, reparation, adoration.

In instituting the Eucharist, Jesus asked the Father to be incarnated in each Host, to continue the salvation and be life of each one of His children who, ungrateful don’t  visit Him, leaving Him alone. His suffering is that of the prisoner who is alone, abandoned, always waiting for someone who looks for Him.

Luisa repaired this lack moving to the house that the Saint from Messina wanted for her, but not on her terms, and there with her bed she was close to her Prisoner of love, as she called Him.

Jesus showed her all His contentment, Her prisoner came come to keep company with Her Prisoner. They are both in prison - Luisa, in bed, and Jesus, in the Tabernacle. It is right that they be close to each other; more so, since one is the purpose that keeps them in prison – the Divine Will and to prepare the Kingdom of the Supreme Fiat.

His love put Him first in prison to wait for His prisoner who, after so many centuries, came so very close to Him to represent His more pleasing tabernacle, the tabernacle of the Divine Will.

But how much work Jesus  did with this soul and how many graces He poured on her to make this tabernacle unique. He has a lot of Eucharistic tabernacles, but in this tabernacle of His "Divine Fiat"  He does not feel a prisoner, He doesn’t  feel alone.

That is why Jesus invites us to visit the prisoners, trying to put ourselves in their place to understand how difficult is their situation and how much we need Mercy. Through our visit, we visit Jesus, we bring Jesus.

Oh dear Prisoner of love,

bind me with your chains,

seal me with your love.

 (Luisa Piccarreta)





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