Monday of Lent II – Prayer of the Day

O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

As I write these words, we have had about a week of images from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I am particularly struck by the long lines of people fleeing into Poland and Romania. When I read these words, “We have no strength so God must defend us,” I think of the frightened faces and weeping children who fill my screen. I was especially moved by the image of the man and young woman who were caught running into the hospital with their injured toddler. The little boy did not survive.   

I am also struck by the interviews being conducted with the men who are shepherding their children and often grandchildren to that border crossing. They will turn around, they insist, to defend their homeland. They are determined. Some of the set to their jaws may well be part of their Slavic culture. But I think there is more.

It would be easy enough to say that I am helpless and so I do nothing. But this would not be true, it is an evil thought which afflicts the soul. The men whose grim countenance fills the screen realize that they are entering into the teeth of a war machine. They will face death. Of themselves, they cannot stop that. There are more adversities than just those which afflict the body, things like bullets and bombs. There are also those evil thoughts of cowardice and self-interest which assault and hurt the soul. We need to be protected from them too, perhaps even more than we need protection from the bombs and bullets. We pray for the people of Ukraine. May God restore peace to that land.

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