The last four days have been truly tragic. Ukraine, an independent country, was invaded by Russi
a in a manner that violated all laws and signed agreements. It is not a stretch to compare this to what Germany did in the 1930s that led to World War II.
The Ukrainian President and citizens have exhibited remarkable leadership and courage in defending their country. I pray for the safety and security of the 45 million Ukrainian people. It is clear that this unprovoked attack is uniting NATO in a positive manner that has not been seen in many years.
My pastor, Father Wayne Watts, summarized the need for prayer and reflection in his “Wayne’s World” column this week. Here is an excerpt that includes information on a talk I am giving this Thursday at Saints Joseph and Francis Xavier Church in Wilmette.
Father Wayne states:
“As I write this, the uncertainty in the Russia/Ukraine conflict looms large. The dialogue, or lack thereof, around peace talks and ultimatums makes many uneasy. The calls for prayers for peace resound.
I’m all for praying for peace (I do so in every Mass I celebrate), but I think real peace starts small, and requires humility. Too often, on the small scale, peace evades us because of our own pride and unwillingness to see the point of the other, to stand in his or her shoes. We cling to grudges and allow the wounds caused by the other to fester. The refusal to understand the other prevails, in politics and in many relationships.
Our own parishioner, Harry Kraemer, a mentor and a friend to me, teaches at Kellogg and travels the world lecturing on values-based leadership. He often reminds his listeners, in one of his self-described “opinions,” of the importance of a line in the Prayer of Saint Francis. The prayer states,
“O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love…”
Harry speaks of the importance of seeking to understand. We spend a lot of our time trying to make others understand us, and our points of views. When we seek to understand the other, we pave the way for peace.
Harry will speak this Thursday on Faith in the Workplace and Beyond. This is a hybrid event. Harry will be speaking in the SFX School atrium (808 Linden) and will be broadcast live on Zoom. Sign up here. If you register for the virtual option, a link will be sent to you on Thursday.“
I will send out further thoughts on the Ukraine situation in the next several days.