This is Fr. Ron Raab, host of On the Margins, with a moment of mercy
The Corporal Work of Mercy: Visiting the imprisoned
Visiting a prisoner often builds a connection of freedom for both the person behind bars as well as the visitor. Our American prisons are filled beyond capacity. No matter why a person is in confinement, God works within people’s hearts. A visitor is a real and authentic connection to not only the outside world, but also the inner world of God’s love, forgiveness and mercy.
I recently spoke with a man in prison because he committed a crime of sexual abuse. He is now labeled as a sex offender. I listened to him with my entire soul because in so many ways he has been a prisoner of the abuse that was also perpetrated upon him since his childhood. He too, was abused and he lived with alcoholic and drug addicted parents. His confinement in some ways has been life-long. His prison sentence will never change the label our society puts on him. Yet, he is finding a profound relationship with Jesus, a relationship that is offering him peace, forgiveness and mercy.
Many former prisoners struggle to find a job. Others struggle to stay sober from alcohol or clean of drugs. So many people who have been behind bars long to find healing, mercy and forgiveness whether or not they are guilty or innocent. Visiting a prisoner may become a moment of mercy and freedom for all of us who seek God.