The “etiam pro ignotis”
It means, “also the things that we are not aware of,” or words to that effect. It refers to both the good things, like the blessings and opportunities given to us that we may not be aware of, as well as the bad things, like the mistakes, harm and damage we may have caused on others without our realizing it.
Life is so complex and complicated, and wrapped in mysterious laws and ways, that there can be many blessings we have received that have escaped our notice. Also, there can be many things we have done, even with our best efforts and with the best of intentions, that actually caused harm on others.
We need to somehow thank God for the many blessings we can always presume to be given to us without realizing them, and apologize and atone for the unintended errors and damage we have done.
This should be part of our daily prayers. In this way, we can be in a better relation with God, and we would put ourselves in a better position to know more about him and his will and ways especially in very tricky situations.
This is how we can be more intimate with God. We have to be more conscious of this phenomenon for that can only attract more blessings from God. To pray for the “etiam pro ignotis” would enable us to be more keen in discerning God's will and ways, and to carry them out. It would sustain a supernatural tone of our life.
For sure, it will contribute to make our spiritual life more vibrant, more generous and creative. It will help us to cooperate more closely with God's providence which is how all our activities should aim at. We then can play in God's game, and not just our own game.
All we have to do is to try our best to do things with God, in spite of our weaknesses and mistakes. We know that he reveals himself to the weak and simple, and so whatever claim of weakness and inadequacy we have can actually be our passport to be intimate with him. With him, everything will always work for the good, in spite of our mistakes.
He even goes to the extent, as in the case of St. Paul, to reveal himself to one who was hostile to him. We just have to be quick in thanking God for whatever grace and blessing he has given us without realizing it, and in apologizing for whatever evil we may have committed without intending it.
I lately have been reading books and viewing documentaries of massive programs undertaken by governments and other groups to help those in need. And yet, despite all the good intentions of these programs, many of them actually caused more harm than help on the people they tried to aid.
We should not anymore be surprised by these developments. They are part of our weakened human condition. But we can always do something about them. By atoning for the mistakes “etiam pro ignotis” we can somehow turn them into something good, if not now then later.*
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