Expressing agony and grief for Ukraine

Published 6:34 pm Friday, April 8, 2022

By Chris Quilpa

Our world has been watching what has been happening in Ukraine since its invasion by Russia on Feb. 24. It is difficult to see images and photos of the destruction and loss of lives and property, historical sites and buildings of a freedom-loving, independent country.

The aggression, atrocities, barbarism and savagery of Russian forces are inhuman and despicable. On the other hand, the defiance, resilience and unbelievable strength and unity, and leadership of the Ukrainian leaders, forces and their people, are commendable, honorable and worthy of praise.

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War is destructive, we know. War is evil. It dehumanizes and diminishes our worth as human beings. It destroys humanity and the balance and normalcy of living. It wreaks havoc on relationships and world peace, security and order. It divides families and nations. It is a threat to peace, stability and goodwill. War is the absence of love and peace. On the other hand, from a humanitarian standpoint, it can bring unity and solidarity to all peace-loving, caring humanity.

As a peace-loving and freedom-loving citizen of the world, I don’t want war. I don’t want trouble. I want peace to reign and prevail all the time. Trying to be a good Christian exercising my faith freely and enjoying my freedom, I want to live a decent life with my family and friends. I want to be always united with the rest of the world that uphold the laws of the land and those of God.

One restless night, while glued to our TV set, focused on what’s happening in Ukraine, I couldn’t control myself but shed tears, weeping for the graphic pictures of brutality, destruction, loss of lives, property and the millions and millions of Ukrainian refugees. It’s so unbearable to take. God, where are you? I prayed and prayed.

On my notebook, I wrote these, my personal lamentation, sort of: What can I do but pray/And donate something/Of my retirement money or income.//Watching what’s going on/And what has happened in Ukraine/Breaks my heart and I weep.//Seeing photos of mass graves in Bucha/And any other bombed and bombarded/Places in Ukraine makes me sick and grieve,//Praying and praying and continue praying/And feeling sad and mad and helpless/For not able to help much to Ukraine.//Why is this happening, this brutality/ And this inhumanity of/by Russia/Towards a freedom-loving country like Ukraine?//When will this war in Ukraine end?/And peace and freedom will prevail in Ukraine/So Love will reign in every heart and soul of all.//

I grieve for Ukraine; I feel their pain./And I mourn with those victims of war/And I pray for all those refugees and were displaced.//God, protect those who fight for peace/And freedom and liberty of Ukraine/And strengthen their faith to face off their enemies.//Mother Mary, spread your mantle of care/And protection to all the Ukrainian people/Who have been struggling to live in peace and be free.//St. Joseph, our Spiritual Father of all, I pray/And ask you to intercede for all Ukrainians/Trying to suppress and fight their enemies and foes.//Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, I pray/Forgive us our trespasses and our misgivings/ Pardon those of us who are “monsters” and “savages.”//All the angels and saints, I pray, help us/And inspire all of us to love peace and harmony/With your intercession, we hope for peace in Ukraine. Amen.//

As the Christian world observes Lent, we, believers and followers of Christ, continue to pray fervently, give generously and serve faithfully to our brothers and sisters in Christ to all parts of the world, And, as the Holy Week is fast approaching, leading to Easter, we continue to pray, repent, fast, give alms and do penance, as we reflect and meditate on the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We believe there’s hope and light, and life, and peace, after we experience darkness and brokenness in our life-world, especially in Ukraine. There’s love and joy, and charity, after all the hatred and indifference, sadness and sorrow we have experienced, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ in Ukraine and elsewhere. We believe in Love. Love will always prevail.

May your Lenten journey, Holy Week and Easter be filled with faith, hope, love and peace of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, and Redeemer!

Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk and Chesapeake. Email him at chris.a.quilpa@gmail.com.