Glory to Jesus Christ!
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ!
Today is Friday 17 June 2022 and Ukraine is already experiencing the 114th day of this great war which Russia is leading against our people and against our state. Today we greet you from Poltava, from this particular Ukrainian city, from our parish of All Saints of the Ukrainian People, where together with our priests, our sisters, our people, and our children we convey to you sincere greetings from Poltava wherever you are and from wherever you are watching us now.
Ukraine is on fire. From the Kharkiv region in the north to the Mykolayiv region and Kherson region in the south there are heavy and bloody battles and we here in Poltava thank God for this peaceful morning and thank our servicemen, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, for seeing this sunny, new day here in Poltava.
Yesterday in Kharkiv, we really witnessed great destruction from the war. We heard the testimony of many people who spoke about the abuse and torture of Ukrainians in the occupied part of Kharkiv. In particular, the spoke about a large filtration camp where there are more than 1,000 people who are actually in a concentration camp and apparently awaiting certain death. We saw broken houses and destroyed city infrastructure. After our visit to Sumy, not far from the chapel where we were, we were hit by rockets, and this morning rocket fire was inflicted on Mykolayiv, people were lost, there were new wounds and destruction.
But Ukraine is standing, Ukraine is fighting. And faith in the victory of Ukraine can be seen in the eyes of these people of Poltava, these children of ours, who pray and work to bring closer the day of our common victory.
This week we meditate every day on a particular gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit Who descended renewed His presence in our Church last Sunday.
Today I would like to reflect with you on the special gift of the Holy Spirit, which is the gift of strength. This strength, given by the Holy Spirit, especially strengthens the virtue of courage. It makes a person not only courageous in his human strength, in his efforts of human nature, but courage is strengthened by the gift of the Holy Spirit and becomes a strength and gives the opportunity to achieve a good goal. Strength, as a gift of the Holy Spirit, dispels the fears of man, which are sometimes inspired by the enemy. Especially when a person feels that to achieve the goal his human efforts are not sufficient, divine grace here comes to the aid of the courageous person, gives strength to endure in superhuman circumstances. The gift of strength gives a person the power to achieve a good and noble goal with the help of divine grace. We all know that such a goal, which sometimes seems superhuman to us, is the victory over evil, Ukraine’s victory over our enemy.
That is why today we ask the Holy Spirit to give the gift of strength to our soldiers, the sons and daughters of Ukraine who defend our homeland, to our military chaplains who accompany our soldiers in these circumstances, where people are on the verge of life and death. We pray for the gift of strength for our leaders, the authorities, our statesmen.
We say: O Holy Spirit, strengthen Ukraine with the gift of the strength. And strengthen the Christians of Ukraine, so that by hoping and trusting only in You, we can achieve this great goal. O God, bless Ukraine and its children!
May the blessing of the Lord be upon you through His grace and love of humankind, always, now and ever, and for ages of ages. Amen.
Glory to Jesus Christ!