The British nationalist Henry Thoreau fought against the slavery system. He refused to pay the election taxes to the country which supported slavery. He was arrested and put behind bars. His faithful friend Ralph Waldo Emerson hurried to visit him in prison. He said to Thoreau, "Henry, what are you doing inside the prison? You’re missing your chance to work on behalf of those who are suffering.”
Thoreau responded with courage, "No Ralph, the question should be, "What are you doing outside the prison?"
I do not give an opinion concerning Henry for not participating in the elections. This is not my job as a priest. Rather, I admire him because he is behaving as a free man inside the prison because he is sharing the misery of those who are mistreated under slavery. As St. Paul says,
"Remember the prisoners as if chained with them‑‑ those who are mistreated—
Since you yourselves are in the body also" (Heb. 13.3).
Instead of condemning those who have fallen, we consider their falls as if they are ours and we see our hidden weaknesses in their visible weaknesses. Hence we identify with them and help them by prayer and service with prudence and love.
With everyone who falls, I see myself falling.
I see the weakness of my nature in my brethren.
Who would help us except You, Saviour of the world?
Who would support us except Your fiery Spirit?
Who would fill our souls except the bosom of the Father?
Prayer is reaching of the mind, full of love to God,
It occupies the mind, the heart, the thought, the desire, the knowledge and the love.
The Goldmeddal Removed my Pains
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