Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Monday 25 July 2022 and Ukraine is already experiencing the 152nd day of this great, terrible, sacrilegious war.
Last night, the enemy attacked the Dnipropetrovsk region all night long. Dozens of different types of bombs, shells, and rockets were fired at various towns and villages of this land, the territory where the harvest is taking place. The villagers are gathering grain and the enemy is trying to deliberately destroy the harvested crop.
The heaviest battles are taking place in the Luhansk region and in the north of the Donetsk region. The epicentre of constant skirmishes of military assaults and attacks are the cities of Kramatorsk, Bakhmukh, and Slovyansk. Last night, our Kharkiv was again terribly shelled. About 20 rockets were fired at this long-suffering, peaceful Ukrainian city. Our Mykolayiv shuddered under the explosions again last night. Ukraine is on fire…
But Ukraine is standing. Ukraine is fighting. Ukraine is praying.
We thank God and the Armed Forces of Ukraine that we survived until this morning. We see daylight again, we can again stand in prayer before God’s face.
During the last days, you and I are walking along the paths of the wisdom of Christian prayer. And you and I are learning what it is we need to pray for. This is a certain experience of prayer of the Church in the Holy Spirit. Because the Holy Spirit is the one Who teaches us what to pray for. You and I mentioned that when we begin our prayer, we should begin with thanksgiving, and then continue with a prayer of repentance.
And today I would like to reflect together with you upon the third type of prayer, which is the prayer of intercession. This is a prayer of request, but a request not for one’s own needs, not a request or a prayer for oneself, but a request and a prayer for one’s neighbours, for those in need, for those who are close, for those who may have it harder at this moment than me.
Intercessory prayer is a special type of saving prayer of our Saviour, who prayed to His heavenly Father for His disciples and for those who will believe in the preaching of the Apostles. The prayer of intercession is the prayer that the Most Pure Virgin Mary prays for all of us in heaven. We have an icon of this prayer of intercession, visible in a special way and venerated in the ancient cathedral of Saint Sophia in Kyiv. This Kyivan Oranta (the Virgin Orans of Kyiv), the Theotokos, who stands day and night as an immovable wall with raised hands and prays for the city, for the people, and for the Ukrainian state.
And so, today, let us learn such a prayer of intercession. Today, we truly feel a duty to pray for those who never pray. For those who may not be able to pray for one reason or another. For those who do not know how to pray. Let us pray with the prayer of intercession for those who may be in the grip of sin today. For those who are tormented in the shackles of an evil spirit. With this prayer, a mother always prays for her children, and the Mother Church, the church community, prays for every person who is entrusted with the pastoral care of the Church.
This prayer teaches us spiritual altruism. It teaches us to put the good of one’s neighbour first, because the ability to seek good for one’s neighbour is characteristic and is the true meaning of love. When we want to pray for our neighbours, we must know their needs, we must listen to them. And in that prayer, we bring before God’s face the weeping, the tears, the suffering, and the requests of God’s people, all those people whom we met during this day, whom we heard, all those who asked us to pray for them.
Today I am asking all of you who will be practicing intercessory prayer to pray for all those who are currently in the war zone. For our soldiers, the sons and daughters of Ukraine who protect our homeland. But also for our civilians, who sometimes find themselves in the fiery trap of this brutal war. Let us pray for those who hear the roar of weapons every day. Let us pray for those on whose heads every day, according to Pope Francis, “our enemy releases a whole rain of fiery missiles.” Let us pray for those who today are defenseless against an enemy armed to the teeth. Let us pray for our motherland, Ukraine, and for her children.
O God, bless Ukraine. O God, bless the Ukrainian people. O God, wipe away the tears of those who cry. O God, comfort the sorrowful. O God, inspire those who are losing hope. O God, bless Your people and bless Your inheritance!
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!