Is a prayer like this Okay? Hanoi Jane Excepted, Ora Pro Nobis
My good friend, Captain Ronald Bliss (may he rest in peace now), on his 35th combat mission over North Vietnam in 1966, after his F-105 Thunderchief was shot down, was incarcerated in the Hoa Lo Prison, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” He was there 2,374 days. Jane Fonda visited the prison in 1972. When Ron and his other friends who had survived returned home to the USA, Jane Fonda called them “hypocrites and liars and pawns,” and said “These were not men who had been tortured.” In accord with the law, and accepted legal standards and principles, for what she did in North Vietnam she could have been tried for treason and convicted.
There are various reports, and some denials, about what she did there, and stories, some questioned, of her actions. My friend Ron was an eye witness, and a pain witness, to what occurred, and to what she did. He told me that he and his fellows were threatened so that they would be respectful of Jane Fonda while she was there, tortured before she arrived, and based on their “disrespect,” tortured again after she departed.
So, can one now pray to God Almighty for everyone, for Him to rain down His blessings and gifts on every person He has created, but ask Him to make an exception for the likes of Jane Fonda, or of anyone who has grievously transgressed against us?
Image and Likeness
It has recently been discovered that, at the moment of conception, a startling flash of light is emitted from the newly-conceived human being. This light, which can last for two hours, is an announcement to the universe that here and now a new person has come into existence who is made by God in His image and likeness. This is true of every human being, not just some select few. Each person presents a unique light show, a unique revelation of God, which has never before happened and which will never again be repeated in all of human history – and this includes Jane Fonda.
To explicitly exclude her, or anyone else, from prayer is to ask God to deny a wondrous one-of-a-kind creature that He made, and to ignore His own image in her. God cannot and will not do this.
Some Sheep, Some Redeemed ?
Jesus did not suffer and die to redeem men and women for their sins against only the 1st, 5th, 8th and 10th commandments. He died because of all the sins of men and women – and He died for all men and all women. It would be futile, if not ridiculous, to pray to Jesus to now restrict the all-encompassing effects of His redemptive sacrifice. God the Father did not give Jesus, the Good Shepherd, some of the sheep – all of us were given to Him, we all know His voice, and He will forsake none of us.
Jesus saves. He does not save some select few members of a pastoral council, some small number of missionaries in Uganda, or those hundred or so people in a local parish who daily attend the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Jesus saves everyone. He saved Ron Bliss and He saves Jane Fonda. The divine deed is done – you cannot now plead with Him to unsave Jane Fonda or anyone else. There are no do-overs on the sacrifice of the Cross.
It is common in Texas and other parts of America to use the second person plural, “Y’all.” “Y’all” means all you all, all youse guys, everybody. It is reminiscent of classical Latin’s “vobiscum,” as in “Pax Vobiscum,” peace be with y’all, or “Dominus Vobiscum,” the Lord be with y’all. This is echoed in prayer when we use the first person plural, “us;” and this is how Jesus taught us how to pray, to pray for everyone, to pray for “Y’all.”
When Jesus told us to ask His Daddy for things, He did not tell us to say “Give some of us this day our daily bread;” or “Lead some of us not into temptation.” The Lord’s Prayer begins with “Our” Father – not the Father of some of us, but the Father of all of us. And throughout the prayer, in the words of Jesus Himself, we ask for blessings for everyone, for all of us. We cannot as one redeemd by Jesus now pray “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive some of those who have trespassed against us.”
The conclusion of what is most probably, day in and day out, the most often said prayer in the world, the Hail Mary, does not end with these words: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for some of us sinners now, and at the hour of some of our deaths.” It is just not possible to conceive of being in the presence of Jesus’s Mama, Mary, – this beautiful lady and mother of us all – and asking her not to pray for and not to intercede for Jane Fonda, or to exclude anyone from her care. Mothers cannot and will not do that.
Throw That Rock?
Really? Who would really like to be that person who, by asking God not to love one of His ultimate creations, implicitly, and hypocritically, casts the first stone at Jane Fonda? Or at anyone?
Anyone who is thinking about casting that stone, should first learn what C.S. Lewis says about everyone:
There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilization—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendours . . . Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses. If he is your Christian neighbour he is holy in almost the same way, for in him also Christ vere latitat—the glorifier and the glorified, Glory Himself, is truly hidden. (from The Weight Of Glory).
Jane Fonda is not a “mere morta;” she, and everyone encountered every day, are among these “holiest objects;” and Christ is truly present in her.
God, please deliver us all, all of us, from evil.
God bless all in this house, including Captain Ronald Glenn Bliss (RIP).
Ora pro nobis, God bless us everyone, including Jayne Seymour Fonda.