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Love your Neighbor – Week 7 

In the past years, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki has been writing a blog titled “Love One Another” which can be found on the archmil.org website. A few weeks ago, he chose to focus on a current topic that affects us all deeply, and one that is certainly appropriate to the general theme of loving our neighbor: the war currently raging in Ukraine.

War has always been hell. But as the Archbishop notes, modern technology makes it difficult for people around the world to escape the visual realities of that war. The videos we see are a constant, graphic reminder of war’s horror and its accompanying evils. War can be the polar opposite of love, but Archbishop Listecki was quick to salute the courage and sacrifice of those whose country was invaded. He also noted that the freedoms we as a nation enjoy today were paid for by the sacrifices of those who came before us. His main point, was that prayer does make a difference, and that we can show our love for our Ukrainian and Russian neighbors by praying for them. He also asked for prayers for the conversion of those leaders whose aggressive actions have led to this conflict. He asked us to join him in praying, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace …,”. Pope Francis has called the war inhumane and sacrilegious. He asked all Christians to make “a solemn Act of Consecration of humanity, especially of Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” He also asked us all to act with compassion to the refugees of this war, who are now separated from their families and homeland.

In this last Lenten reflection on loving our neighbor, two lessons emerge. First, we are to love our neighbor however we can and understand that our Lord calls us to recognize and honor everyone we encounter in our lives. We should do this because each person is a reflection of Christ. We must do so without regard to the circumstances. Second, by acknowledging our human limitations, we must always pray for others as an expression of our love for them. In particular, trusting in God, we must pray for those who do not wish us well. By doing so, we can strive to love as Christ loved, even on His way to Calvary and the cross.