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A Lent Like No Other

My dear friends, in today’s Gospel we hear once again the story of Satan tempting Jesus in the desert. He does so in three ways. He tempts him…,

  • to satisfy his physical needs: “Command this stone to become bread;”
  • to question God’s love for him: “Throw yourself down the parapet of this temple;”
  • to amass unbridled power: “I shall give you all this power” (over all the kingdoms of the world)”

It is quite clear that the situation in the Ukraine is the result of one man giving into this temptation for unbridled power. This can happen to any of us when we forget that only God is omnipotent – i.e., all powerful, and instead become overly reliant on ourselves. When our need to control everything goes unchecked, bad things happen, as is quite clear in Ukraine.

So here we find ourselves once again at the beginning of another Lent. This year however, is unlike any we’ve experienced in a long time, given this unprovoked invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin’s military. If ever there was a time when our Lenten prayers, fasting and almsgiving was important – this is it!  While the situation is frightening on many levels, our concerns pale in comparison to those of the innocent men, women and children in Ukraine, and our observance of these 40 days of Lent will be some the most important ever. It is incumbent upon all Christians therefore, to do what is within our means to act in solidarity with our oppressed sisters and brothers.

With that, I encourage you to pray for a peaceful resolution to this terrible conflict, and I offer two ways of doing so. First, I ask that you consider coming to our Perpetual Novena to our Lady of the Miraculous Medal on Monday evenings at St. Stanislaus Church, which begins at 6:30 pm with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Second, I found this beautiful icon of Our Lady of Pochaev in Ukraine, and a prayer that seeks her intercession for the people of Ukraine. It is said that miracles have occurred through her intercession.

Oh Holy Mother of God, we believe and acknowledge that you are the wondrous Guardian of all persecuted and unfortunate. That is why we place our hope in you. More than once have you shown us your kindness. Please show it to us once again. Open the most sweet Heart of your Son and our God. Intercede for forgiveness of our sins. Help us in spiritual and material needs, and for those who so graciously honor you, give them your graces.

Mother most good, cover our Church and our Ukrainian people with your mantle. Help our brothers and sisters in Ukraine in their suffering. Give them strength in their fight with their atheist enemies, be consoling and unfailingly firm in their harassment and shield them in their misery. Be for them and us our All-Merciful Guardian and let us praise you openly and freely together with them, Oh Virgin, among all virgins, and your Son, our God, Jesus. Let there be glory, honor and adoration now, always, and forever. Amen.

For more info on this icon, go to: 
www.udayton.edu/imri/mary/o/our-lady-of-pochaev.pho