May God Have Mercy
This morning I sat on my sofa and looked around. My apartment is small, but with books, trinkets from where I've traveled, family mementos, and my collection of bakeware, there's plenty of things surrounding me.
What if I had a few minutes to flee? What if I knew, it was leave now or face an occupying force or possible death? What would I take with me? How do I balance necessities and memories? How do I weigh practical and comfort?
Last night I watched videos of families fleeing - choosing only a backpack full each so that they could be as mobile as possible. I watched fathers saying goodbye to young children. Those children and mothers fleeing, knowing it is right, but terrified as they left behind husbands and fathers who choose to stay and fight.
I studied war, genocide, dictatorships. Intellectually, I know how this works. I even have a sliver of the experience of being the next-of-kin to a loved one fighting in a war - the one contacted in case of injury or death. Yet, watching what is unfolding in the Ukraine, as they are invaded by a country that wishes to become an occupier, I have idea, absolutely no reference point for what the people of the Ukraine are experiencing.
It feels so useless to say - pray. Yet, we are a people of faith. So let us pray.
May God be with each Ukrainian soul. May God grant strength, endurance, and the Spirit's infinite grace.
May God work a conversion in the policy and actions of the Russians.
May God guide the hearts, minds, souls, and policies of world leaders so as to discern the best ways to support, defend, and aid the Ukrainian people.
May each of us prepare to do all that is needed for the inevitable humanitarian crisis that is already breaking. May God grant a generous spirit to each of us.
May God have mercy, this day and every day.
If you are able to, I encourage you to consider supporting Catholic Relief Services. They are already working with partner agencies like Caritas to respond to the needs of the people.