LeoODonovanSJ (2)Rev. Leo J. O’Donovan S.J., President Emeritus of Georgetown University, presented: At Prayer — Private Prayer and Community Worship, this week at Wallace Hall in NYC. He used slide images of famous artworks throughout his talk (the one in photo by Durer).

A talk on prayer, by a Jesuit, is especially relevant today given the prominent role Jesuits are playing in the Church, and in recent revolutions (Rev. Paolo Dall ‘Oglio S.J., Syria; Rev. David Nazar S.J., Ukraine).

In his remarks Rev. O’Donovan said that Pope Francis was looking for bishops — pastors “who will argue with God on behalf of their people.” He added that the “Pope gave himself a present” with the canonization of Peter Faber.

In describing his support for the Maidan revolution in Ukraine, Rev. Nazar mentions, in blog posts, that he and others prayed “every hour” during the days leading up to Yanukovych’s violent removal from office.

The removal of Yanukovych in Ukraine, and the violent attempts to remove Assad in Syria, are clear violations of the U.N. Charter, International Law and the Gospel. In case there are any doubts about the nature of the opposition in Ukraine—the same opposition supported by Rev. Nazar—here’s a twitter post from one of their members on February 18, 2014: “Dear European Union and United States of America: We no longer need your moral support. Act or fuck off. With EuroLove, From EuroUkraine”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church offers criteria in this area: “Armed resistance to oppression by political authority is not legitimate, unless all of the following conditions are met: 1) there is certain, grave, and prolonged violation of human rights; 2) all other means of redress have been exhausted; 3) such resistance will not provoke worse disorders; 4) there is well founded hope for success; and 5) it is impossible reasonably to foresee any better solution. (CCC #2243)

John Paul II reminds us in Crossing the Threshold of Hope, that in the struggle for the victory of good in man and in the world, the need for prayer arises. “The Gospel teaches us to call good and evil by name, but it also teaches: “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good” (cf. Rom 12:21).

“The Church prays for the suffering. Suffering, in fact, is always a great test not only of physical strength but also of spiritual strength. Saint Paul’s truth about ‘completing the sufferings of Christ’ (cf. Col 1:24) is part of the Gospel. It contains the joy and the hope that are essential to the Gospel; but man will not cross the threshold of that truth without the help of the Holy Spirit. Prayer for the suffering and with the suffering is therefore a special part of this great cry that the Church and the pope raise together with Christ.” John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (Knopf, 1994)