It’s almost Ash Wednesday, the time when Catholics begin their Lenten journey of self-reflection and repentance.
The war in Ukraine is highlighting the need to go inward most especially this year, with acts of penance and fasting. Pope Francis has called for all people, including non-Catholics, to pray and fast for peace. He broke tradition and visited the Russian diplomat to the Vatican by going there to his embassy in an attempt to plead for an end to the war.
The Ukrainian people are strong in their resolve not to give in, but to fight for their independence. I remember when I read “War and Peace” many years ago, which is my favorite novel. There was a section where Tolstoy referred to the Ukrainians as “Little Russia.” I doubted that the Ukrainians thought of themselves that way. Apparently, I was correct. Although there are many cultural ties, they are a sovereign nation.
After seeing the images of carnage and displacement of women and children on the TV news, I found it difficult to sleep.
So, I took up my rosary and prayed for an end to the senseless violence upon Ukraine, and also prayed for the Russian soldiers, that they would wake up and resist the murder of their brothers and sisters.
If only the world would pray, and truly turn to God, then the conversion of Russia which Our Lady asked for at Fatima would be accomplished. We must practice attending Mass and receiving Holy Communion on five consecutive First Saturdays and praying the rosary for world peace. We must comfort the broken Hearts of our Mother and her Son, Jesus. For only that in the end can help a materialistic, fallen world in need of redemption. It is a place where wealthy nations fare well, and The Third World suffers from poverty and disease. Even in our country, there are children who go to bed hungry at night. This must cease.
We are also still living with the scourge of the pandemic which has claimed so many lives and caused much suffering.
Let this Lent be a new time of renewal, one that finds us imploring the Sacred Heart of Jesus to be our shield and His Most Precious Blood the balm to bind our wounds of sin and selfishness.
And let us pray for the Blessed Mother’s promise to be fulfilled very soon, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.”