At his Wednesday audience this morning, Pope Francis prayed for Ukraine:
Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, a 20-year-old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still behold armed hands in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!
Forgive us, O Lord.
Forgive us, if we are not satisfied with the nails with which we crucified Your hands, as we continue to slate our thirst with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
Forgive us, if these hands which You created to tend have been transformed into instruments of death.
Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother;
Forgive us, if we continue like Cain to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labors, if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
Forgive us for war, O Lord. Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You! Hold fast the hand of Cain!
Illumine our consciences;
May our will not be done;
Abandon us not to our own actions!
Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
And when you have held back the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.
O Lord, put a halt to the violence!
Stop us, O Lord!
At the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., yesterday, Ukrainian archbishop Borys Gudziak said:
I’m convinced that [Pope Francis] has made every effort to speak to Putin and I have some information that he has not gotten responses to his gestures towards Patriarch Kirill, but I think that will change,” said Gudziak, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia. “I’m hoping the Russian Church leadership will open up and hear the gospel.
As the attacks started, Pope Francis went to the Russian embassy in Rome to express his concern. And he has spoken with Zelensky. On Friday, he will renew John Paul II’s consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In his catechesis this morning, he also reflected on fears of nuclear destruction. He wasn’t entirely speaking to the Russian attacks, but it would be impossible to not make the connection.
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