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A Troubled World

One does not have to look far to see that we live in a troubled world. We have been dealing with the Coronavirus for two years now. Right now, the number of cases in the United States has dropped significantly in the last month. I pray the rest of the world is also experiencing a drop in the number of cases. There is talk that we are moving from a “pandemic” to an “endemic”. We pray for the end to the Coronavirus. Until that happens we pray for God’s help with dealing with the Coronavirus.

However, it is not the only struggle we face. There are shootings. There are riots. There is continued drug use as people use drugs to escape the problems they face in the world. Another challenge that we face is that of polarization, division among the people. We see it in the response to the Coronavirus. There are those who advocate for vaccines. However, there are those skeptical about how fast the vaccine was developed (do we truly know its potential side effects). There are those who argue for everyone to wear facemasks for the safety of all. On the other side, there are those who don’t want to wear a mask whether they are vaccinated or not.

While people speak of relativism, where one is free to believe whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, we seem to be more divided than ever. It can be hard to get the two sides of any issue to truly dialogue. In a world that preaches tolerance, I fear we are more divided than ever.

We hear that an individual must be free to believe whatever one wants with the qualification “unless as it doesn’t hurt anyone. In a relativistic society, there is no universal truth. In faith in Jesus Christ there is Truth, “and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32b). This Truth is set by God.

We are the midst of a difficult situation in the Ukraine. It seems to be the world against Russia and the Ukraine ends up in the firing line. Just yesterday Russia announced that it is sending “peacekeeping” forces into two provinces in eastern Russia. People are skeptical about what Russia is really up to. What is their real motive?

I don’t know what Russia’s true motives are. Are we going to end up in war? I pray for peace. Would it be a just war? One of the criteria of a “just war” is the question of “legitimate authority.” Does Russia have the authority to intervene unilaterally? Another criteria in just war theory is the “probability” of success. Would anything be accomplished by military action in the Ukraine?

I don’t know. I don’t know what motives are really at play here. I know know that we must pray for everyone involved in the conflict in the Ukraine regardless of what side they are on. In fact, it should not be about taking sides. Our intent should always be to do what is right and just in God’s eyes for God is the only one who is all-knowing. We need to place our trust in God. We pray that God govern the actions of all involved.

I believe it is going to take every one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (see Isaiah 11:1-2, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1830-1832) to properly deal with the situation in the Ukraine. The seven gifts are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, right judgment (counsel), fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. We need “knowledge” to be aware of what is really going on. We need “understanding” to understand the dynamics of what is going on. We need “wisdom” to see the situation as God sees it. We need to allow God to give us “right judgment” of what we are to do and the fortitude (courage) to do it. We need piety and fear of the Lord to lead us to trust in the Lord’s leadership in how the conflict is dealt with.

We live in a troubled and divided world. I think the situation has worsened in recent years as people stop believing in God. I know I am not all-knowing. You are not either. None of the political leaders involved in this conflict is all-knowing. Only God is. And so we pray for those in leadership positions listen to the guidance of our Lord in how they deal with the situation in the Ukraine. We pray for peace. We pray “thy will be done.”

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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