The "wolf" of war
Publish date 30-07-2022
We serve peace with all our hearts, a disarmed heart… “We dedicate our life, our incessant prayer to converting the wolf of war”.
These words of our Rule resound within me in these days in which the "wolf" of war has become aggressive and has returned to strike. We did not know, or perhaps we did not want to, pay attention to his arrival and now each of us wonders how it was possible not to recognize the signs of a war near the heart of Europe, how it was possible that the "wolf" has taken by surprise, with all the systems consolidated from the postwar period to today, international relations, summits between heads of state and governments, the EU, NATO and with the winds of war that have blown in that region since 2014. Everyone is disconcerted by the fact that this war in Ukraine could not be prevented and has become a war against the civilian population, inside the cities.
Whatever happens, a wound inflicted on the population, in the Europe of law, of values, of coexistence, will not heal easily; a nation will be rebuilt and from children to the elderly, all will be marked forever. The Russian people will also be marked and those who did not want this war, the young people forced to fight. Whatever happens, all of us Europeans will feel more insecure for the future, all poorer, all defeated.
All of us who believe in peace have in our eyes the images of the destroyed cities, of the armies in columns, the flashes and the explosions of the bombs on the houses and we have no difficulty in identifying ourselves with the people crammed in shelters, in leak. We hear closer the words that in the Old Testament God entrusts to the prophet Jeremiah (14: 17-18): "You will report this word: My eyes pour tears night and day, without ceasing, because the virgin was struck by great calamity. , daughter of my people, from a mortal wound. […] Even the prophet and the priest wander around the region without understanding ”. Once again God weeps for his people struck by a mortal wound, amid the bewilderment of all, and once again the lack of foresight of the leaders, the indifference, the selfishness of the majority prevail.
The difficult pages of the Old Testament written by the prophets come to meet us and seem written for us today. We would never want to be faced with such harsh words, but we understand that history today is passing through there and those harsh words show us the direction to go. If they highlight our errors, it is not to condemn, but so that everyone is converted and lives (Ez 18:23). If they announce the dark times of trials it is not to crush us, but because we return to God and resume walking on his paths (Ez 20.11). Among the rubble of crumbling certainties of our today, those words are a heartfelt invitation addressed to all of us, to our rulers to return to God with all our hearts: alone we cannot achieve peace, but if we return to him and do alliance with him, the story takes a different turn. Jeremiah sees a flowering almond branch while a boiling pot is poured from the north on all the inhabitants of the earth (Jer 1: 11-13): while men destroy what they have built, God starts life again and an almond branch announces the new time that is coming.
The prophets urge everyone, from the smallest to the greatest, to conversion of the heart, conversion of the mind, of the will towards God, because a new life is already emerging from the rubble. And they give us witness that life really starts again and it is a good life, better for everyone because the people once again recognize their own identity in God. God still and always knocks on the heart of man so that he does not get lost, so that he can come back to life, so that he can concretely live the experience of passing from death to life. When they announce the Messiah, the prince of peace, the prophets list his qualities, fully realized in Jesus.
Among all of them, one in particular I felt necessary for us today: "He will not fail and will not despair until he has established the right on earth" (Is 42,4). Those who believe in peace, like Jesus, cannot be discouraged at this moment, cannot fail in the certainty that the almond branch is blooming despite today's destruction.
It is a conversion of mentality that we must seek and ask for: enter into the determination that belongs to Jesus and embrace with him the mission entrusted to him by the Father, reconciliation and communion between man and God and between all men. Only in this way is peace possible, even if it requires a strong personal commitment: "There will be peace if there is reconciliation, if we ask each other for forgiveness, if hatred is dissolved, if respect, harmony, meekness emerge" ( Yes - The Sermig rule).
Now our work is not to increase the hatred that the war is sowing, is to do all the good we can towards the Ukrainian people, towards the Russian people, towards our lost and frightened people, it is facing evil with good, in the way God suggests: works that translate his love, his mercy, his passion for us into gestures. Jesus made them concrete with his giving his life to open the way to a new life for all. In this time let us strengthen our faith in him, let us not be discouraged, let us work, pray, offer so that humanity will soon find the way to a new life, a new world.
NP March 2022