On the occasion of the current war in Ukraine, I would like to refer today to the “Prayer for the true peace of peoples”, which we have just published as a song, so that many people can access it (https://youtu.be/vxJkLKPSTMg). Everyone is cordially invited to pray this prayer with us!
The situation in Ukraine and the threat that this war could escalate is an issue that is now very present, like a “next plague” that has befallen humanity. The “Prayer for the true peace of peoples” has such “forms of unjust violence” in view, and, at the same time, points beyond this concrete situation of danger.
In order to correctly understand the current threat to the world, it is necessary to remember again and again that nothing happens without God’s permission. If we now see yet another plague coming, then it will have the same cause as the plague around the coronavirus and the measures taken against it: Men are not living as God wants them to! His love is being rejected in many ways and His commandments ignored. If we look at history with the eyes of faith, we can see that God has often allowed “plagues” in order to convert people. This was the case both in the time of the Old Covenant and in the time of the New Covenant. Holy Scripture makes it clear in unequivocal language: plagues and catastrophes, including wars, are often the consequence of turning away from God.
The “Prayer for the true peace of peoples”, which we cordially invite you to pray and spread, was first launched (under the motto “Break the rod of the violent”) in 2011 in Ecuador, where criminal acts were becoming more and more frequent, which also affected us as a community. Subsequently, we took this prayer to Mexico, where it was expanded and gave rise to the version we now present to you. It includes aspects that are still valid in today’s plague. Before explaining each of its parts, we will recite this prayer:
“Beloved Heavenly Father, full of confidence we call upon Thee, firmly believing that Thou wilst come to the peoples’ aid. Look at the suffering caused by so many forms of unjust violence, and intervene with Thy power to weaken the Evil. Look at the anti-Christian confusion that is spreading more and more in this world, wanting to influence even the Church. Enlighten and strengthen us with Thy Holy Spirit, so that by Thy Power we may resist the spirit of evil. Preserve Thine own in faithfulness to Thee and make us apostles of Thy fatherly love, so that all men may recognize and follow Thy Son Jesus Christ, Our Lord.”
In the first part, we ask “full of confidence” for God’s intervention in a most complex situation. We mean concrete intervention and that the Heavenly Father will open ways to peace. We are moved by the confidence that our God is a God of peace. With this same confidence and with great sorrow, we bring to Him all the suffering caused by unjust violence, particularly that of those affected through no fault of their own. Let us think, for example, of children suffering under war. Violence is not exercised by God; it is exercised by individuals, behind whom is often the one who is “a murderer from the start” (Jn 8:44), pursuing his destructive goals.
May God intervene by weakening the Evil One and every influence that pushes towards evil! This is our plea!
The second part of the prayer refers to the “anti-Christian confusion that is spreading more and more in this world”, and which can take advantage of this painful situation in Ukraine, as well as the coronavirus crisis, to promote chaos and carry out its evil plans. One cannot rule out the possibility that, in a scenario of escalating war, an antichrist – or even the “last Antichrist” foretold in Scripture (cf. 2 Thess 2:8-10) – will appear, bringing an apparent solution to the conflict. Unfortunately, it is to be feared that a Church weakened in spirit will not be able to recognise him and, consequently, will not warn us of him but even co-operate with him.
The third part of the prayer exhorts Christians to offer resolute spiritual resistance against the powers of darkness. This is what we are called to do and we cannot avoid it, if we do not want to be blinded by Lucifer’s deceptions! So we must resist in the strength of the Holy Spirit and in the spirit of discernment.
At the same time, we implore the Father to preserve us in faithfulness to Him, so that, as apostles of His love, we may be able to lead people to Christ. This is the decisive point of this prayer! Only when people are converted will there be true peace. For this to happen, in turn, the authentic proclamation of the Gospel is necessary, without watering down the doctrine or weakening the moral demands. No one is helped when the salt of the proclamation is lost (cf. Mt 5:13); on the contrary, everything becomes insipid, unrefined, lukewarm… Thus, there is a risk that the Lord will vomit it out of His mouth (Rev 3:16). A “flirtation with the world” can easily lead to spiritual “fornication”.
Harpa Dei presents this prayer in their own soft form of singing, in order to counteract the destructive forces in man with the meekness of the Lamb. However, the intention of this prayer is that the Lord Himself, who “went away, to go from victory to victory” (Rev 6:2), confronts Satan and his murderous work. Therefore, the words that St. Michael the Archangel addressed to the devil when they were disputing over the body of Moses apply here: “May the Lord rebuke you.” (Jd 1:9)