Do you feel trapped, or lonely?
Are you sad, helpless or frustrated?
Are you held in prison -
whether by depression or addiction, or by fear of the future,
or by a refusal to forgive, or by a secret weakness,
or by shame and embarrassment,
or by the knowledge of your weakness,
or by the decisions of other people - whether just or unjust -
and by huge brick walls?
Here's some good news. There's real help for you, close by.
You don't have to look very far.
You don't have to wait for a visit.
You don't have to bribe someone.
You don't have to prove you're worthwhile.
Jesus is with you, right near you.
He is here now, today, in your darkness.
If you just whisper to Him, you are heard.
With only a single word or thought or inward glance
you can share your life with Him: all of it.
You can tell Him your burning hopes and your secret fears.
He hears you, every time you call, because He made you. and He knows you; and He loves you right now, just as you are.
You are unique; and He has a plan for you. He offers you
an astonishing new way of life: a free gift.
He wants to see you care-free, happy and holy,
as you make your way 'home' to God the Father, in Heaven,
by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You can become a 'child of God,' in earthly life,
and then a Saint, in Heaven's glory!
But first, do you know who Jesus is?
Perhaps you already know, love and serve Him.
Perhaps you're in some way 'crucified'
because of your faith in Him. He will reward you.
But perhaps you've never heard it said, loud and clear,
what He wants everyone to hear: that He is God-made-man:
'Son of God' and son of Mary - and a friend of sinners.
He came down from Heaven, longing to save us,
though He didn't live long on earth.
He was mocked and killed by ordinary people like us:
angry, suspicious or hard-hearted, or just hurt and ashamed,
not wanting to be reminded, by Jesus' words and example,
about the beauty and holiness of God
and our need to repent of our sinful behaviour.
But Jesus Christ didn't stay dead.
What evil power could conquer God's own Son?
He came out of the grave to a glorious, everlasting life;
and we can share that life, whatever we've done in the past,
if we're willing to turn to Him, to become His friends.
Jesus is alive right now. Millions of people know Him.
That's why we say: "Here's some good news!
God exists! Jesus is alive; and prayer 'works', because
it puts you in contact with Heaven!"
Just say: "Jesus! Help me!"
If you believe that He can help you
it's as if you open a 'door' to let Him in.
You allow Him to act within your life -
to restore what you thought you'd lost:
hope, love, peace-of-soul, and dignity.
So begin today, this very minute.
"Jesus, help me!" is a wonderful prayer.
"Jesus, I put my trust in you" is another.
Speak from the heart. Tell Him the truth about yourself,
and about your past sins, which He already understands.
By trust and sincerity you allow Jesus
to pour His Spirit's gifts upon you;
but you don't need to pray lengthy and formal prayers.
It's a comfort to know the 'Our Father,' and the 'Hail Mary':
but you can simply say to Jesus, believing that He hears you:
"I can't cope!" or "I'm afraid" - or "I need Your help" -
or even: "I'm a slave to this habit!"
The Lord looks upon us all with tenderness and love;
and He especially admires people who trust Him,
and who come to Him with sorrowful hearts.
Turn to Our Lord to pray,
morning, noon and night, every day.
Then take another step. Speak to people who know Him.
They can lead you to the sacraments of His Church:
powerful helps by which Jesus can transform you.
With Jesus' power, keep away from temptation.
With Jesus' help, try to do good and to avoid evil:
then things will begin to change.
Either the Cross will be removed from your shoulder
or you'll find that Jesus is your own 'Simon of Cyrene'.
He will take the weight of your Cross, to ease your pain.
He will help you to persevere on life's journey.
It's a 'hard road'; but it leads His friends, eventually,
to the place once promised to the Good Thief:
not to a place of further torment, but to "Paradise, today!"
This meditation is published as a four page laminated prayer card with illustration, called A PRAYER CARD FOR PRISONERS AND THOSE IN DARKNESS, ISBN 1-902960-40-8.<
See Publications for further details.