“Forgive us for War, O Lord”

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Conflict in Ukraine, News

The hostilities in Ukraine are not something new: in 2014 in the eastern part of the country, there were hostile activities between the pro-Russian forces and the Ukrainians. During that year and in the following years, thousands of lives were lost.

In 2016, during an historic meeting of Pope Francis with the Russian Patriarch, Kiril, both signed a joint statement that, among other things, stated:

We deplore the hostility in Ukraine that has already caused many victims, inflicted innumerable wounds on peaceful inhabitants and thrown society into a deep economic and humanitarian crisis. We invite all the parts involved in the conflict to prudence, to social solidarity and to action aimed at constructing peace. We invite our Churches in Ukraine to work towards social harmony, to refrain from taking part in the confrontation, and to not support any further development of the conflict (no 26).

The two leaders met again on March 16, 2022 (this time via video-conference) in order to deal with the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian military. It is well known that the Russian Orthodox Patriarch, Kiril, has refused to condemn the invasion, has revealed his close relationship with Vladimir Putin and has also called this war “a holy war”.

This meeting between the two religious leaders cannot be underestimated. Nevertheless, the respective positions are still very far apart. The fact that both sides are in dialogue, however, is a positive reality. According to his statements this week, the Patriarch continues to defend a “victorious war for Russia”, Pope Francis, for his part, expressed his feelings in an audience this past Wednesday with a shocking prayer:

Forgive us for war, O Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, a 20-year-old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still behold armed hands in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!

Forgive us, O Lord.
Forgive us, if we are not satisfied with the nails with which we crucified Your hands, as we continue to slake our thirst with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
Forgive us, if these hands which You created to tend have been transformed into instruments of death.
Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother.
Forgive us, if we continue like Cain to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labours, if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
Forgive us for war, O Lord. Forgive us for war, O Lord.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You! Hold fast the hand of Cain!
Illumine our consciences;
May our will not be done;
Abandon us not to our own actions!
Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
And when you have held back the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.
O Lord, put a halt to the violence!
Stop us, O Lord!

Amen.

The Vincentian Family shares the Pope’s sentiments of prayer, solidarity and closeness to so many human persons who reflect the suffering Christ. As Vincent did in the 17th Century, so today he continues to encourage us to make every effort to alleviate the suffering and pain of those who are poor: he states:

God loves the poor, consequently, he loves those who love the poor … the poor are the well-beloved of God; in this way, we have good reason to hope that, for love of them, God will love us. Come then, my dear confreres, let us devote ourselves with renewed love to serve persons who are poor, and even to seek out those who are the poorest and most abandoned; let us acknowledge before God that they are our lords and masters and that we are unworthy of rendering them our little services (CCD:XI:349).

Together with the Pope, let us ask God to be merciful toward us and to forgive us for this cruel and senseless war!!


Tags: Ukraine

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