Saturday, February 26, 2022

Victory in Spite of All Terror

I have often wondered however what would have happened if two hundred thousand German storm troops had actually established themselves ashore. The massacre would have been on both sides grim and great. There would have been neither mercy nor quarter. They would have used Terror, and we were prepared to go all lengths. I intended to use the slogan “You can always take one with you.” 

— Sir Winston Churchill, Their Finest Hour (London: Cassell, 1949, 246)

This is what Ukraine is facing today.


God grant them victory:

It is an easy matter for many to be shut up in the hands of a few: and there is no difference in the sight of the God of heaven to deliver with a great multitude, or with a small company: for the success of war is not in the multitude of the army, but strength cometh from heaven. They come against us with an insolent multitude, and with pride, to destroy us, and our wives, and our children, and to take our spoils. But we will fight for our lives and our laws: and the Lord himself will overthrow them before our face: but as for you, fear them not. — 1 Machabees 3, 18-22

God forbid we should do this thing, and flee away from them: but if our time be come, let us die manfully for our brethren, and let us not stain our glory. — 1 Machabees 9, 10

To the invaders, death:

Long ago, the great army of Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem; it suffices to allude to the proud lies and evil blasphemies of the Assyrians and their king to see the parallels with today; God grant that matters come to pass as they did then:

And it came to pass that night, that an angel of the Lord came, and slew in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and eighty-five thousand. — 4 (2) Kings 19, 35

And they arose in the morning, and behold they were all dead corpses. — Isaias 37, 36

After this reversal, Sennacherib returned home, and was slain.


As Judas Machabeus prayed:

O Lord, who didst send thy angel in the time of Ezechias king of Juda, and didst kill a hundred and eighty-five thousand of the army of Sennacherib: even so destroy this army in our sight today. — 2 Machabees 15, 22; 1 Machabees 7, 42

Domine, qui misisti angelum tuum sub Ezechia rege Juda, et interfecisti de castris Sennacherib centum octoginta quinque millia: sic contere exercitum istum in conspectu nostro hodie.


Prayer for the Deliverance of Ukraine in Time of Invasion

Pray that even now the unjust onslaught of Russian armed forces may be defeated, and Ukraine delivered!

Prayer for the Deliverance of Ukraine in Time of Invasion

Adapted from the Great Book of Needs

[If at the Divine Liturgy:] After the Augmented Litany, the Holy Doors are opened, and the deacon (or priest) exclaims:

Let us attend, and with compunctionate hearts, having inclined the knees of our souls and bodies, let us pray to the Lord.

People: Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. 

And the priest (on bended knees) says this prayer in a loud voice with compunction:

O Lord God of powers, and God of our salvation, O God, who alone work wonders: look down with mercy and compassion on Your humble servants, and out of love for mankind hearken and have mercy on us and on the land of Ukraine. For, behold, enemies have once more gathered together, in order to cause division and enmity. But You who know all things, understand that they have risen up unrighteously, and that it will be impossible to oppose their multitudes unless You show us Your help. Therefore, we who are sinful and unworthy pray unto You in repentance and with tears: “Help us, O God, our Saviour, and deliver” the land of Ukraine “for the sake of the glory of Your Name” (Ps. 78:9), that the enemy may not say: “Their God has forsaken them, and there is none to deliver and save them.” (Cf. Ps. 70:11) But let every nation understand that You are our God, and we Your people are always protected under Your dominion. Reveal Your mercy, O Lord, and let the words spoken by Moses unto the people of Israel (Exodus 14:13-14) be applied to us: “Fear not. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. For the Lord shall fight for us.” Work for us a sign for good, that they who are filled with hatred may see our orthodox faith and be humbled and shaken. Yes, O Lord God, our Saviour, our Strength and Hope and Help, remember not the transgressions and unrighteousness of Your faithful people, and turn not away from us in Your anger. But visit Your mercies and compassions upon Your humble servants, those who fight in defence of Ukraine and her much-suffering people, outnumbered though they be, and hear us who fall down before Your deep compassion. With Your mercy enlighten and make glad the hearts of the civil authorities, and strengthen them by Your might. Rise up to their help and lay low the evil counsels purposed against them by the enemy. Judge them that provoke and make war, and turn their impious boldness into fear and flight. But grant unto the just and God-fearing armies of the children of Ukraine, great boldness and courage to advance and overtake them, and to defeat them in Your Name. And unto them that You have judged worthy to lay down their lives for faith and country, forgive them their trespasses, and in the day of the righteous reckoning grant unto them incorruptible crowns. For You are the health and victory and salvation of them that put their hope in You, and unto You do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages. 

People: Amen. 

Courtesy of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada. “Prepared by the sinful Reader Ilya, feast of the Hieromartyr Clement of Ancyra [23rd January, O.S., 5th February, N.S.]. Brampton, [Ontario, Canada,] 2022.”


[Errata: “enemy may not to say” changed to “enemy may not say”; “strengthened them” changed to “strengthen them”; “councils” changed to “counsels”; “worthy” added after “judged”; American spelling of “Savior” and “defense” changed to “Saviour” and “defence”; comma added after “hearts” and in the Kyries; references to psalms added and quotation marks inserted.]

Thursday, February 24, 2022

God Save Ukraine

"There is no purgatory for war criminals. They go straight to hell, ambassador."

— Ukraine's UN ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya to Russia's UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, at the UN Security Council, Wednesday 23rd February 2022.

While we must hope that even the most hardened sinner would repent and be saved ere they die, lest they go straight to hell, realistically there is a but a scant chance of that happening, bar a miracle – and it seems unlikely that Putin, in his own eyes the Autocrat of All the Russias, real and imagined, fondly picturing himself as the worthy heir of Catherine the Great (!), would be the recipient of such; for while the Good Thief, moved by grace, was saved by Christ, it was permitted that Judas should hang himself.

Pray for Ukraine, wickedly invaded by Russia at the behest of an evil man; may the many who will die make their peace with God; may those who defend Ukraine fight manfully in the cause of right, knowing that God can give victory either to many or to few; and, as Churchill put it, in the dark days of May 1940:

“Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the Outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be.” (Cf. 1 Machabees 3:58, 59, 60)

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Four Responsories Suitable to the Time

Ukraine is threatened with imminent war; pray for that beleaguered nation, that war be averted even now – herewith, as food for prayer, four very suitable responsories from those in the Breviary for the month of October, when the lessons at Matins are taken from the Books of the Machabees, and the responsories reflect their anxious concerns:

Responsory 1. (V. Ps. 58, 12)

R. Congregáti sunt inimíci nostri, et gloriántur in virtúte sua: cóntere fortitúdinem illórum, Dómine, et dispérge illos: * Ut cognóscant quia non est álius qui pugnet pro nobis, nisi tu, Deus noster.

V. Dispérge illos in virtúte tua, et déstrue eos, protéctor noster, Dómine. * Ut cognóscant quia non est álius qui pugnet pro nobis, nisi tu, Deus noster.

R. Our enemies are gathered together, and make their boast of their own strength; O Lord, break their power, and scatter them, * That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O our God!

V. Scatter them in thy strength, and destroy them, O Lord our Shield. * That they may know that there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O our God!

Responsory 2. (1 Mach. 4, 8. 9. 10)

R. Impetum inimicórum ne timuéritis: mémores estóte, quómodo salvi facti sunt patres nostri: * Et nunc clamémus in cælum et miserébitur nostri Deus noster.

V. Mementóte mirabílium ejus, quæ fecit pharaóni et exercítui ejus in Mari Rubro. * Et nunc clamémus in cælum et miserébitur nostri Deus noster.

R. Be ye not afraid of the assault of the enemy; remember how our fathers were delivered. * Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.

V. Remember His marvellous works that He hath done unto Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea. * Now, therefore, let us cry unto heaven, and our God will have mercy upon us.

Responsory 3. (Cf. 2 Par. 20, 12; V. 1 Mach. 3, 52. 53)

R. Congregátæ sunt gentes in multitúdine, ut dímicent contra nos, et ignorámus quid ágere debeámus: * Dómine Deus, ad te sunt óculi nostri, ne pereámus.

V. Tu scis quæ cógitant in nos: quómodo potérimus subsístere ante fáciem illórum, nisi tu ádjuves nos? * Dómine Deus, ad te sunt óculi nostri, ne pereámus.

R. The heathen are assembled together to fight against us, and we know not what we should do: * Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.

V. What things they imagine against us, thou knowest; how shall we be able to stand against them, except thou be our help? * Our eyes look unto thee, O Lord our God, that we should not perish.

Responsory 4. (V. Cf. 2 Mach. 1, 28)

R. Aperi óculos tuos, Dómine, et vide afflictiónem nostram: circumdedérunt nos gentes ad puniéndum nos: * Sed tu, Dómine, exténde brácchium tuum, et líbera ánimas nostras.

V. Afflíge oppriméntes nos et contuméliam faciéntes in supérbiam; et custódi partem tuam. * Sed tu, Dómine, exténde brácchium tuum, et líbera ánimas nostras.

V. Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto. * Sed tu, Dómine, exténde brácchium tuum, et líbera ánimas nostras.

R. Open thine eyes, O Lord, and behold our affliction: for the heathen are come round about us to punish us. * But thou, O Lord, stretch forth thine arm, and deliver our souls.

V. Punish them that oppress us and with pride do us wrong, and keep thine own portion. * But thou, O Lord, stretch forth thine arm, and deliver our souls.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. * But thou, O Lord, stretch forth thine arm, and deliver our souls.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

Prayers for Peace and to Avert War in Ukraine

As it appears events may be approaching a crisis, of your charity pray that Russia will not invade Ukraine, that the scourge of war even now be averted: 

Prayers for Peace and to Avert War in Ukraine

Cf. Ecclus 50, 24. 25
Pray ye to the God of all, that he may grant us peace in our days for ever.

Prayer for Peace.
Lord Jesus Christ, who didst say unto thine Apostles: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, do I give unto you,” regard not our sins but thy merits, and grant unto all thy servants, that they whom the Almighty Father hath created and governeth, and whom thou hast redeemed with thy Precious Blood and hast ordained unto everlasting life, may love one another with all their hearts for thy sake, and may be made one in spirit and rejoice in thy perpetual peace. Lord Jesus Christ, concerning whom the Prophet hath said: “And all kings of the earth shall adore him, all nations shall serve him,” extend thy reign over the whole human race. Send upon all men the light of thy faith, deliver them from all the snares and bonds of passion, and direct them to heavenly things; and graciously grant, that the states and nations may be united by means of thine immaculate Bride, Holy Church, and, through the intercession of the blessed Virgin Mary, Queen of Peace, may serve thee in all humility; and that all tongues and peoples may form one great choir, to praise thee both day and night, to bless thee, to exalt thee, O King of the nations and the Ruler thereof, O Prince of Peace, immortal King of ages. Amen.

Prayers for Peace.
Let us pray the Lord, that he may crush wars, and give peace in all the earth.

1. God of peace, our peace, peaceable King, R. Crush wars, grant peace!
2. Peace we ask, peace grant unto us: R. Crush wars, grant peace!
3. Remove war and deliver us: R. Crush wars, grant peace!
4. With humble prayer we ask, O Lord: R. Crush wars, grant peace!
5. O pious [Lord], repress wars, grant peace. R. Crush wars, grant peace!

1. From threatening wars, R. Deliver us, Lord.
2. From the scourge of war, R. Deliver us, Lord.
3. From enemies open and hidden, R. Deliver us, Lord.
4. From disturbers of peace, R. Deliver us, Lord.
5. From every hostile assault, R. Deliver us, Lord.

1. That thou wouldst deign to humble the enemies of holy Church, R. We pray thee, hear us.
2. That thou wouldst deign to repress the attempt of the Russians and reduce it to nothing, R. We pray thee, hear us.
3. That thou wouldst deign to avert war and every hostile onslaught from Ukraine, R. We pray thee, hear us.
4. That thou wouldst deign to give peace and true concord to Christian kings and princes, R. We pray thee, hear us.
5. That thou wouldst deign to grant peace and unity to the whole Christian people, R. We pray thee, hear us.

V. Scatter thou the nations that delight in wars. (Ps. 67, 31)
R. Take away wars even to the end of the earth. (Cf. Ps. 45, 10)

Let us pray.

Collect. 2nd Sunday after Epiphany.
Almighty everlasting God, who governest at once things heavenly and earthly: clemently hear the supplications of thy people, and grant thy peace to our times. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Queen of peace, R. Pray for us.


Cf. Eccli. 50, 24. 25
Orate Deum omnium, ut det nobis pacem in diebus nostris per dies sempiternos.

Oratio pro pace. (Cf. “Dñe... do vobis: ne respicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiæ tuæ”)
Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti Apostolis tuis: « Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis, non quomodo mundus dat ego do vobis » (Joan. 14, 27), ne respicias peccata nostra sed merita tua, et concede omnibus famulis tuis, ut quos creavit Pater omnipotens atque gubernat, quosque tu pretioso Sanguine redemisti et ad vitam æternam destinasti, omnes alterutrum toto corde propter te diligentes, cor unum fiant et perenni tua pace lætentur. Domine Jesu Christe, de quo cecinit Propheta: « Et adorabunt eum omnes reges terræ, omnes gentes servient ei » (Ps. 71, 11), regnum tuum ad genus humanum universum extende. Super omnes homines fidei tuæ lumen immitte, a passionum illecebris vinculisque eos libera, atque ad cælestia dirige: et concede propitius, ut civitates nationesque per immaculatam Sponsam tuam Ecclesiam sanctam conjunctæ, beatissima Virgine Maria Regina Pacis intercedente, tibi humillime famulentur; et ex omnibus linguis et populis unus existat chorus, qui, die ac nocte, te laudet, te benedicat, te exaltet, o Rex gentium (Jer. 10, 7) et dominator earum, o Princeps pacis (Is. 9, 6), o sæculorum Rex immortalis (cf. 1 Tim. 1, 17). Amen.

Preces pro pace.
Oremus Dominum, ut conterat bella, et donet pacem in universa terra.

1. Deus pacis, pax nostra, Rex pacifice, R. Contere bella, tribue pacem!
2. Pacem rogamus, pacem nobis tribue: R. Contere bella, tribue pacem!
3. Amove bella et nos omnes erue: R. Contere bella, tribue pacem!
4. Humili prece postulamus, Domine. R. Contere bella, tribue pacem!
5. Pie, bella reprime, pacem concede. R. Contere bella, tribue pacem!

1. A bellis imminentibus, R. Libera nos, Domine.
2. A flagello belli, R. Libera nos, Domine.
3. Ab hostibus apertis et occultis, R. Libera nos, Domine.
4. A perturbatoribus pacis, R. Libera nos, Domine.
5. Ab omni hostili incursu, R. Libera nos, Domine.

1. Ut inimicos sanctæ Ecclesiæ humiliare digneris, R. Te rogamus, audi nos.
2. Ut russicorum conatus reprimere et ad nihilum redigere digneris, R. Te rogamus, audi nos.
3. Ut ab Ucraina bellum et omnem incursum hostilem avertere digneris, R. Te rogamus, audi nos.
4. Ut regibus et principibus christianis pacem et veram concordiam donare digneris, R. Te rogamus, audi nos.
5. Ut cuncto populo christiano pacem et unitatem largiri digneris, R. Te rogamus, audi nos.

V. Dissipa gentes quæ bella volunt. (Ps. 67, 31)
R. Aufer bella usque ad finem terræ. (Cf. Ps. 45, 10)


Oratio. Dñca II. post Epiphaniam.
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui cælestia simul et terrena moderaris: supplicationes populi tui clementer exaudi; et pacem tuam nostris concede temporibus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. R. Amen.

Regina pacis, R. Ora pro nobis.