Dear friends in Christ,
Like all of you, I have been appalled by the news reports out of Ukraine. It does not take a moral theologian to see the terrible injustice that is taking place in real time. What is our response to this, particularly in this season of Lent?
At the risk of oversimplifying, our response should be a deeper commitment to the grace of baptism, by way of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. We may not be able to change the course of world affairs, but nothing takes place outside of the providence of our heavenly Father who makes his sun to rise on the bad and the good (Matt 5:45). At the same time, we can always pray. How often prayer is seen as a last resort for us, when it must be the beginning and source of all our actions! If we pray for peace, we should have no doubt that the Prince of Peace will hear our prayers.
The terrible disaster of war should remind us also of our need for fasting. No matter how rich or poor we are, voluntarily abstaining from pleasant things like certain foods is a powerful reminder of our need for God and an act of solidarity with the many people who suffer real deprivation – in Ukraine and in many other places around the world, including in our own neighborhood.
Finally, we can be generous. Our second collections for the remainder of Lent will be directed to the national collection for Central and Eastern Europe. That money will be forwarded to Catholic aid organizations working in and around Ukraine to care for refugees and the victims of this terrible war.
While this unprovoked war is a terrible situation which cries to heaven for justice, we are not powerless in the face of this or any difficulty. By entrusting ourselves more fully to the Blessed Trinity, and by sacrificing some of our resources, we can respond to injustice with love. Christ demands nothing less.
May God be Blessed!
-Father Eric Banecker