Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is 8 April 2022 and our homeland, our Ukraine, is going through forty-four days of this terrible war – Russia’s attack on our homeland, on our Ukraine, on our Ukrainian people.
Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Although, Ukraine is bleeding.
This war brings new wounds every day, it reaps new deadly mowings. Very heavy, bloody battles are being fought in the East of Ukraine, in the Luhansk region, in the east of the Kharkiv region, in the Donetsk region. Heavy fighting is also taking place near the heroic martyred city of Mariupol. Similarly, in the south of our homeland.
We see more and more that this war is, in fact, a war of total annihilation. We see how our occupiers, those who are capturing towns and villages, abuse the civilian population. Moreover, they are trying to destroy the railway tracks in advance, the roads on which people could be evacuated from dangerous areas.
Yesterday we heard that the occupiers seized and confiscated for their needs the humanitarian cargo that our volunteers were trying to deliver to those people, in particular, in the Kherson region, who are, in fact, on the verge of starvation.
Among all the horrors of war, every believing Christian asks themselves, “How do we live in a Christian way in such circumstances?”
We know that the main commandment of Christian life is the Commandment of Love. Love for God and for one’s neighbour. On these two commandments, says Christ, all the law and all the prophets are founded. The evangelist John says, “If any one says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20)
In order to see, yesterday I personally had the opportunity to go to the tragically infamous town of Bucha, which is an open wound on the body of Ukraine. And there, above the open mass grave, seeing the mutilated, breathless bodies, we prayed for their eternal rest. And in that prayer I asked myself, I asked God, “God, what does it mean to love You and love one’s neighbour?”
And near this mass grave, looking at the hands of our murdered brothers and sisters, I understood one very important thing: to love your neighbour means to feel related to him. It means feeling that we are human beings together, to belong to the same human race. And where he or she rests in the mass grave, I could have been laid to rest there as well.
We have a common vocation, a common fate. We, as brothers and sisters in Christ, belong to the same human race. To love one’s neighbour means to be aware of and experience one’s humanity, and thus to show one’s humanity. Therefore, says Christ, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Therefore, every Christian, no matter where they live on earth, whether they are Italian or German or Australian, seeing the atrocities of the occupiers in Bucha, says today: “I am Ukrainian.” Feeling this unity in our human race with those innocent victims, the occupier is waging war against you and me, to put us in that mass grave tomorrow.
But let us love God, Who is the source of life, not death. We ask our loving God to truly feel our oneness with our brothers and sisters, even to learn to love our enemies. To love one’s enemy means to stop his murderous hand, to take away his weapon, not to give him the opportunity to kill. We ask that in the circumstances of hatred and murder of war, that we know how to love God and our neighbour, that we remain human.
We ask: O Lord, grant eternal rest to the innocent victims, those who died in different parts of Ukraine, whose graves have not yet been opened. O God, give us the strength to love, and with Your Love, the love of Your Holy Spirit to overcome the war. O God, stop the aggressor, stop this war, and give life to Your people. Bless our Ukrainian army! Bless our homeland!
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love for humankind, always, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!