As war rages, pray for peace — and persist!

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LATEST NEWS from the National Catholic Register: "Marian Fathers Offer Shelter, Spiritual Solace Amid Ukraine War"

By Chris Sparks

In the evening, when I entered the small chapel, I heard these words in my soul: My daughter, consider these words: “And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly.” When I started to think about them more deeply, much light streamed into my soul. I learned how much we need perseverance in prayer and that our salvation often depends on such difficult prayer (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 157).

Russia has invaded Ukraine. The country is at war. We have 22 Marians in Ukraine; their house in Kharkiv was bombed. More than 2 million refugees have fled. Our Marian houses across the border in Poland are assisting refugees. The world is on edge.

I’ll leave all the politics to the politicians; for those of us who work for the Marian Fathers, I think there’s one thing we are obligated to say: Now is the time, more than ever, for devotion to Divine Mercy, Mary Immaculate, and the Holy Souls.

Now is the time to take up the Divine Mercy Chaplet, venerate the Image of Divine Mercy, and ask God to “have mercy on us and on the whole world.” 

Now is the time to pray for peace more than ever, especially with the daily Rosary, as Our Lady asked at Fatima.

Now is the time to call in the intercession of all those whom we’ve helped pass swiftly through Purgatory across the years, asking for those Holy Souls in Purgatory and in Heaven who’ve been the recipients of mercy through our prayers and suffrages to extend that mercy to us living in this valley of tears.

Now is the time to deploy the grace of God into a world sliding toward war, and potentially a very serious war.

January 7. During the Holy Hour, the Lord allowed me to taste His Passion. I shared in the bitterness of the suffering that filled His soul to overflowing. Jesus gave me to understand how a soul should be faithful to prayer despite torments, dryness, and temptations; because oftentimes the realization of God’s great plans depends mainly on such prayer. If we do not persevere in such prayer, we frustrate what the Lord wanted to do through us or within us. Let every soul remember these words: “And being in anguish, He prayed longer.” I always prolong such prayer as much as is in my power and in conformity with my duty (Diary, 872).

Now that we are in the holy season of Lent, it’s a better time than ever to bring prayer, fasting, and almsgiving to bear in the world. Let us be praying for peace, working for peace, and giving of our time, talent, and treasure to bring about peace in the world. 

How? That depends on the duties of our state in life, but all of us ought to be practicing prayer on a regular basis, and we should include peace in the world as an intention. 

Be a peacemaker
All of us ought to be peacemakers, as Jesus indicated to us in the Beatitudes (see Mt 5, especially verse 9), which means having peace of soul through regular Confession and Holy Communion, through prayer and forming ourselves as St. Paul instructed: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:8-9). 

We can contribute our time, talent, and treasure to the Church, the great font of grace and peace in the world; to the cause of justice in all its forms, especially in accord with the Church’s social teaching, since St. Paul VI told us “If you want peace, work for justice”; and to the works of mercy.

Christian peacemaking is powerful, but it’s often powerful in the way enormous things are powerful, like the tides or the rotation of the earth. In order to change the course of human events, sometimes we get quick miracles, graces to a physician at just the right time to do the unexpected, miraculously helpful thing, or even a full on miracle cure of some illness or situation. But often, especially when we are praying about the affairs of nations, we are not given “one and done” sort of solutions to problems. The power of prayer is usually a deeper, more abiding thing.

Persistence is indispensable
We often must anticipate that our persistent prayer and peacemaking will be needed, will be awaited, since bringing change to the minds and hearts of human beings while respecting free will is a delicate thing. God is mighty to save and makes all things new; He can and will set all wrongs to right, most decisively at the end of the world, but also again and again throughout human history in ways large and small, as we see in the lives of the saints.

But it will be on a timetable that we can’t see, and probably can’t understand. So persistence is indispensable. Trust in Jesus is indispensable, both to see real change in the world and for the salvation of souls.

Be assured that the grace of eternal salvation for certain souls in their final moment depends on your prayer. You know the whole abyss of My mercy, so draw upon it for yourself and especially for poor sinners. Sooner would heaven and earth turn into nothingness than would My mercy not embrace a trusting soul (Diary, 1777).

So let us turn once again to prayer for peace; to fasting for peace and reparation, especially through the First Saturdays; to almsgiving for peace, whether that means tithing to the Church or contributing money to organizations serving justice and mercy according to the Church’s teaching. Let us settle in for the long haul and hope to be surprised with a swift response to our prayers, fasting, and almsgiving. Let us recommit ourselves to be peacemakers as Jesus taught us, in imitation of the saints, bringing truth and merciful love to bear in our world today.

Jesus, the Divine Mercy Incarnate, have mercy on us!

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!

Holy Souls in Purgatory and saints in Heaven, pray for us!


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