Nights 529-534 – Br. Błażej letters
Stories of Resilience and Faith: Ukrainians Endure the War
A Chronicle of Daily Struggles and Unyielding Hope in Ukraine, August 7-12, 2023
Amid the ongoing war in Ukraine, the Ukrainian people exemplify remarkable resilience and unwavering faith. From the relentless nights of war to the unwavering dedication of the Capuchin brothers providing essential ministry and support, these stories shed light on the transformative power of faith and the indomitable spirit of the Ukrainian people. As we explore their journeys, we witness their determination to rise above adversity, their unwavering hope for a just peace, and the profound influence of their faith in guiding them through the darkest times.
Night 529: Restlessness — and a reminder to avoid murmuring.
A night of restlessness. The Dnepropetrovsk region was attacked. There are civilian casualties in the Kherson region after overnight attacks on a residential building; a woman was killed and 12 people were wounded. A powerful S-300 missile has reached Kharkiv. God, grant us a just peace!
The Word reminds us that people can have very short memories. All it takes is a minor difficulty for someone to forget everything God has done and focus on temporary problems. Murmuring and complaining appear. The history of God’s people is a lesson for each of us.
Listen to Psalm 81 — it is God’s response to our murmuring. “My people did not listen to My voice, Israel did not obey Me. I left them, therefore, to their hard hearts, let them follow their own designs. If My people had listened to Me, and Israel had walked in My ways, I would have immediately crushed their enemies and turned my hand against their adversaries. I would flatter the Lord with those who hate Him, and their punishment would last forever. And I would feed him with choice wheat, and sow honey from the firewood.” God is love!
In Truskavets, our retreat, which focused on our “Meeting with God,” has ended. Among the presenters was Br. Jerzy Zielinski from Dnipro. In Kiev and Verbovets, meanwhile, our Franciscan youth have been experiencing the San Damiano retreat.
Our Franciscan Youth retreat in Verbovets, in fact, had 25 participants, most of them were from Lviv. Twenty-three of them made the decision to enter the path of conversion in the community of Franciscan Youth. Thank God for everything!
Night 530: Restlessness — Mourning in Pokrovsk.
There was tragedy in Pokrovsk, in the Donetsk region. Seven people were killed and 67 people — including 31 police personnel, seven rescue workers and two children — were injured in a rocket attack on a residential building in Pokrovsk.
The Word calls us to courage. “Courage! It is I who am, do not be afraid!” At this, Peter spoke up: “Lord, if it is You, make me come to You on the water!”
But at the sight of a strong wind, he began to sink and cried out: “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and grabbed him, saying: “Why did you doubt, man of little faith?” When they had gotten back into the boat, the wind died down. And those who were in the boat fell down before Him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
God is love!
Night 531: More casualties in Pokrovsk, and a new drone attack.
During the night, an 18-year-old man was killed when Russian drones reached Nikopol in the Dnipropetrovsk region. Still, morning today has been calmer than previous mornings.
Our brothers, Roman Lukaszewski from Walcz and Roman Pop from Uzhgorod, celebrated birthdays this week.
In the Word, the Lord says: “I will bring the bride out into the desert and speak to her heart. And there she will answer Me as on the day she came out of the land of Egypt. And I will marry you to Myself forever, I will marry you by justice and law, by love and mercy. I will marry you to myself through faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.”
In Pokrovsk, the number of wounded after yesterday’s rocket attack rises to 81 people. Among them are 39 civilians, including two children, 31 police officers, seven firefighters and four military personnel. The rescue operation is ongoing.
Night 532: A death brings hope in the resurrection.
Sister Death came for Anna Chromy, 83, the mother of our brother Joseph Chromy, the guardian and pastor in Vinnitsa. God grant her eternal life, and Br. Joseph and the family the hope of resurrection. Jesus lives!
The Word from the Book of Wisdom refers to all the dead who have bound their lives to God: the saint, Deacon Lawrence, or the late Anna Chroma, or the victims of this war in Ukraine. “The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God and their torment will not reach them. It seemed to the eyes of the foolish that they had died, their death was interpreted as misfortune and their departure from us as annihilation, and they abide in peace. Although even in human terms they suffered anguish, their hope is full of immortality.”
“He who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”
God is love!
In Zaporizhzhya Oblast, there has been more shelling of civilian facilities, including houses and chapels. In the Rivne region, kamikaze drones have ruined a fuel base. But there are no casualties among the civilian population.
Night 533: More attacks in the borderlands.
It was another restless night and morning. In border regions, there are endless attacks by Russian terrorists. In other oblasts there are alarms. It’s an anxious time. God, give us a just peace.
The Word today reminds us of what Jesus said to his disciples. “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to preserve his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what shall it profit a man, even if he gains the whole world, and suffers harm on his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father together with His angels, and then He will give to each according to his conduct. Verily I say unto you, some of them that stand here shall not taste death, until they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
There was tragedy this week in Zaporozhye. Two young girls sang in the street. An hour later, a Russian rocket fell. One girl, 19-year-old Svetlana, died on the spot; the other, 21-year-old Kristina, died in the hospital. God, give us a just peace!
Night 534: An anxious day followed by a calm night.
Yesterday morning was full of alarms. Rockets fell over the central oblasts of Ukraine. We pray and ask for prayers for Kolomyja, from where the image of the Mother of God in Skomielna Black is from; Russian rockets hit there, too. Anti-missile systems are at work. The night, thank God, is calmer, but on the front regular war wages on. God, give us a just peace.
The Word reminds us of the beginning of the First Commandment: “Moses said to the people: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall therefore love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. The words that I command you today shall remain in your heart. Thou shalt instill them in thy sons, thou shalt speak of them while at home, while traveling, while going to bed and while rising from sleep. You shall tie them to your hand as a sign. They shall be an ornament between your eyes. Write them on the doors of your house and on your gates.’”
Edited by br. McLean Bennett
for the Capuchin Communication Office
Province of St. Joseph