Holy 7 days 2022: A Wartime Meditation | George Weigel

In both the Roman and Byzantine liturgical calendars, Lent 2022 has coincided with a brutal war in Ukraine. That war was introduced by Russia’s Vladimir Putin for an ignoble, imperial bring about. It has been done by the Russian navy in a manner that recollects the barbarism of the Romans who crucified six thousand slaves alongside the Appian Way after the Spartacus revolt. It’s an outdated story. Tyrants simply cannot tolerate the truth of the matter about their tyranny they terrorize in get to split the spirit of individuals who seek out independence.  

In the 3rd week of the war, Latin-rite Catholics read through a passage from St. Augustine’s commentary on Psalm 140 that would absolutely ring legitimate in the hearts of our Japanese Christian brethren in Ukraine, both Greek Catholic and Orthodox:

“Lord, I have cried to you, listen to me.” This is a prayer we can all say. This is not my prayer, but that of the total Christ. Somewhat, it is claimed in the name of his entire body. When Christ was on earth he prayed in his human mother nature and prayed to the Father in the identify of his overall body and when he prayed, drops of blood fell from his entire overall body. So it is written in the Gospel: “Jesus prayed with earnest prayer, and sweated blood.” What is this blood streaming from his entire body but the martyrdom of the whole Church?

Blood has been streaming from Christ’s physique, the Church in Ukraine, for eight months now. It has poured from the bodies of males, ladies, and youngsters. Ukrainian patriots have fallen in defense of their homeland Russian troopers have fallen for motives they could not understand, simply because their superiors lied to them about their mission. The bloody wounds that have been inflicted on the Physique of Christ in this war simply call to mind the Lord’s scourging the mindless cruelties inflicted on civilians remind us of his crowning with thorns by sadists. With Christ, the Ukrainian people, who ask only to be by themselves, have walked the bloody route to Calvary, where by these who inflict their struggling mock their claims to be who they are. 

Ukraine’s wounds, especially in the metropolis of Mariupol’, convey to head a reflection by an additional Medical doctor of the Church, St. Bernard of Clairvaux. The city’s identify honors the Blessed Virgin Mary as depicted in the Hodegetria icon. The wanton destruction of a Marian-named town by Russian forces—including the kidnapping of residents and their deportation to Russia—has been a poignant reminder of why St. Bernard taught the Church that Our Lady is a martyr:

The martyrdom of the Virgin is established forth each in the prophecy of Simeon and in the genuine tale of our Lord’s enthusiasm. The holy aged man explained of the toddler Jesus, “He has been recognized as a indication which will be contradicted.” He went on to say to Mary, “And your possess coronary heart will be pierced by a sword.”

Definitely, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your coronary heart. For only by passing as a result of your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. In truth, soon after your Jesus—who belongs to everybody, but is particularly yours—gave up his everyday living, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless system, tore open up his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. . . . Therefore the violence of sorrow has minimize through your heart, and we rightly get in touch with you a lot more than martyr, considering that the influence of compassion in you has long gone past the endurance of actual physical struggling.

Healing the actual physical, spiritual, and emotional wounds of this war will just take a prolonged time. Those people wounds consist of the falsifications of the Christian historical past of the Jap Slavs that underwrite the Russian attempt to demolish a sovereign nation: one that posed no security menace to Moscow, but did, by its existence, problem the phony tale that Russian leaders—political and, alas, religious—have been telling their men and women for far too extended. A prolonged therapeutic method notwithstanding, Ukraine has experienced extra than the Passion this Lent.

From the starting, Main Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and other genuine adult men of God have proclaimed the saving truth that Easter follows Calvary. So we can carry our crosses, on the other hand bloody, in the confident understanding that Christ’s victory is ours if we keep on being trustworthy to his induce. As Major Archbishop Shevchuk, named on a Russian assassination checklist, set it with basic eloquence, in the “baptismal waters of the Dnipro River” those trustworthy grew to become “the entire body of the Risen Christ, around which loss of life has no ability.”

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington, D.C.’s Ethics and Public Coverage Centre, in which he retains the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Reports.

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