Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Monday 8 August 2022 and the Ukrainian people have been standing and resisting the full-scale military aggression with which the Russian army came to our land for 166 days.
During the last night and the previous day, heavy fighting took place in Donbas, in the south of our homeland. The enemy launched massive missile strikes on central Ukraine, in particular on Vinnytsia. Our Kharkiv region shuddered under the blows of Russian missiles, especially the towns and villages that have just been liberated. The city of Kharkiv was again heavily shelled. Heavy, bloody battles are taking place along the entire front line.
But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying.
Today I would like to continue with you our reflections on the fruit of Christian prayer with the Holy Scriptures. Yesterday, you and I mentioned how various appeals of biblical figures and persons to Jesus Christ turned into the Jesus Prayer or the prayer that we so often repeat during the Liturgy, “Lord, have mercy.” And today I would like to draw your attention to how biblical and Gospel texts have turned into yet another extremely well-known and popular prayer among our people of God. We pray the rosary every day. Let’s pray this Marian prayer “Theotokos and Virgin, rejoice!” But few people know that the text of this prayer is a text from the Gospel. This is a combination of the words of the Archangel Gabriel, who spoke to the Theotokos: “Rejoice, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women.” And the words of Elisabeth, who received the Theotokos, who hastened to serve her from this place of the annunciation: “Blessed is the fruit of your womb.” This prayer is characteristically a celebration of the Mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God, “For you have given birth to Christ, the Saviour and the Redeemer of our souls.” Therefore, in those Gospel words, the Church prays and hymns the Mystery of the Incarnation. The mystery of the coming of the Son of God to us in a human body and human nature—God who becomes man. May this prayer accompany us on our earthly journey. And this example of listening to God’s Word and implementing it in our lives, which the Most Pure Virgin Mary herself gives us in this prayer, is to be a model for us, Christians, to listen to God’s Word and to implement and implement it in our lives.
Today I would like to address in particular those whom official language calls “internally displaced persons.” And among the people we call these brothers and sisters “immigrants.” Millions of people in Ukraine today are forced to leave their homes. I want to address you today and open the arms of our Church to you. When leaving your native village or city, the first thing you should do is look for the community of our Church. Our people, who are ready to receive you and serve you with everything we can. If you need to find accommodation, our parishes, monasteries, and communities are ready to receive you. We are ready to serve you with everything we can. Therefore, first of all, look for our church in a foreign city. And everything else will be added to you.
I especially want to ask you, wherever you find yourself, to actively participate in the life of this vital community, be active participants in Ukraine’s work and struggle for victory. It is so nice to see how those people who have really received help become volunteers themselves. And even with their personal life story, they help others, encourage others, help them find the strength to continue living, even in new circumstances.
I want to call on all our immigrants to actively work in local communities. Look for a way to realize your professional abilities and talents. And the local community is just waiting for good specialists to actively join the ranks of those who create common good and fight for the victory of Ukraine in the back lines of the rear guard.
In the same way, our parishes are waiting for you to pray together. We also want to share our faith with you, by the faith of the Risen Saviour, because from Him we draw our strength, abilities, means, our skill and ability to love, to love one’s neighbour, to love you dear brothers and sisters.
O God, bless Ukraine. O God, stop the war, because a person only knows how to start a war, and then he becomes a hostage, or rather a slave of the evil that he himself started. O God, grant peace to Ukraine. Bless the Ukrainian army. Let the sounds of Russian bombs no longer resound over Ukraine. And let no more human blood be shed, but may only sunflowers and poppies bloom, as a sign of peace and joy. O God, bless the Ukrainian land with Your just, heavenly peace!
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of mankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!