Nights 564-570 – Br. Błażej letters
Stories of Resilience and Faith: Ukrainians Endure the War
A Chronicle of Daily Struggles and Unyielding Hope in Ukraine, Sept. 11-18, 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 564: Seeking peace in God.
Night attacks are taking place along the border district and the Dnipropetrovsk region. God give us a just peace!
A Word comes to us for the time of war — and beyond!
“Only in God seek peace, my soul, for from Him comes my hope.
“Only He is my rock and salvation, He is my fortress, so I will not falter.
“At all times trust in Him, O nation.
“Before Him pour out your hearts, God is our refuge.”
“My sheep listen to My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. Listen and you will live!”
God is love!
Beatified on Sunday were the Ulma family from Markowa; they were executed in 1944 by the Nazis for hiding Jews in their home.
In Uzhhorod, the first evening Eucharist in the catechetical year took place with the participation of children.
Elsewhere, our brothers on their annual monastic retreat hit the road this week to Starokonstantin for the annual monastic retreat.
In Kyiv, meanwhile, several residential houses, an administration building, and a school were damaged by rocket attacks or shrapnel.
Night 566: Rolling away “the old man,” putting on the “new.”
We had a peaceful night, but only in our provinces (or “oblasts”). In the border and coastal regions, there was still fighting and drone attacks. God, give us a just peace!
Today’s Word is long and abundant — it is worth stopping, reading and, above all, listening to it all.
“Brothers: If you have risen from the dead together with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ resides, seated at the right hand of God. Strive for what is above, not for what is on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, our Life, appears, then you too will appear with Him in glory.
“So inflict death on that which is mundane in the members: debauchery, impurity, lust, evil desire and greed, for it is idolatry. Because of them God’s wrath is coming on the sons of rebellion. And you once acted in this way when you lived by it. And now you also reject all these things: anger, fervor, malice, insult, shameful speech coming out of your mouth.
“Do not lie to one another, for you have rolled away the old man with his deeds, and have clothed yourselves with the new man, who is still being renewed toward a deeper knowledge of God, in the image of Him who created him. And here there is no longer Greek or Jew, circumcision or uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but all in all is Christ.”
In Vovchansk, in the Kharkov region, more attacks fell on residential houses; fortunately, there were no casualties among the residents. In the Chernihiv region, a Russian drone hit a five-story residential house; thank God there were no fatalities here either. According to the United Nations, more than 9,600 civilians have been killed in Ukraine by Russian attacks over the past year and a half. God, grant us a just peace, and to the dead an eternal peace.
Night 569: A wartime ‘Rosary Uprising’ for peace.
We had a quieter night than the previous nights, with fewer alarms and drone attacks. God, grant us a just peace!
Our Capuchin retreat is coming to an end. We thank those who prayed for us as we start returning to our homes.
I don’t know if St. Paul’s words apply to you, but they certainly apply to me: God loves the sinner!
“It is a doctrine worthy of faith and deserving of complete recognition that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the first. But I received mercy in order that in me first Jesus Christ should show all magnanimity as an example to those who will believe in Him for eternal life. And to the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, God alone, honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” God is love!
In Krasilow, there was a “Rosary Uprising” this week. Our Capuchin sisters write that these events have been taking place in the city on every 13th day of the month for many, many years. Participants ask Mary for peace, reconciliation and forgiveness.
Night 570: Wisdom in war: Forgive transgressions and stop hating.
Night was very difficult. In the morning, all of Ukraine was “red,” with alarms all over the territory — and especially in the western regions. In the Kherson region, nighttime Russian rockets destroyed a school.
The wisdom from today’s Word is unequivocal and can give us wisdom for times of war and beyond:
“Anger and wrath are abominations to which a sinner clings.”
“Forgive transgression to your neighbor, and then, when you beg, your sins will be forgiven you.”
“Remember the final things and stop hating — the decay of the flesh, death, and keep the commandments! Remember the commandments and do not hate your neighbor.”
St. Paul himself notes: “Brethren, none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. And, therefore, in life and in death we belong to the Lord. For this purpose Christ died and came back to life, that he might reign over the dead as well as over the living.”
Be merciful, as God is merciful. God is love!