Off Andrii Iemelianenkoussian war

March 26, 2022

A Reflection from the Interpath Traditions
by Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P

The heart-rending news of Russian military personnel kidnapping and killing Ukrainian children stirs the rage so many have against Mr.Putin’s unimaginable cruelty. The sad fact of atrocities against children stains the history of humanity. It is one thing to dispute territory, culture, or power but quite another to rain down terror upon children.
The sinister idea behind the kidnapping and harming of children is to break the spirit of a people. Ever since Solomon threatened to split a child in two, the real parents and those with a moral sense have stood up to save the lives of the little ones. Tyrants with no moral sense will use and abuse children to maintain their power and their quest for control. Authoritarians and totalitarians will stop at nothing to seize and maintain power, wealth, and status. If they cannot be legitimately elected, they take power through violence. Tyrants find it hard to believe anyone would actually live by the moral standards of decency and civility. Those who would harm little children often claim they belong to a superior religion and culture. Their hypocrisy knows no shame.  
In 2017, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, powerfully confronted Iran, Russia, and Syria for their destructive and murderous ways. Her words apply to the atrocities we are now witnessing: “you bear responsibility for these atrocities … Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you? Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child that gets under your skin?”
The killing of children for political advantage and personal power scars the biblical history. Children are often found in the middle of conflicts they are too young to explain or understand. The human rights of children are often compromised by policies and beliefs negating their dignity as human persons. Too many young people, barely beyond their childhood years, have been slaughtered in senseless wars and conflicts.
The story of the birth of Jesus is framed in the context of a wicked King’s quest for tyrannical power and control (see Matthew 2: 16-18). Herod, the puppet king, fears a two-year-old might usurp his reign of terror. Oddly enough, he consults the Scriptures to determine where the child might be. Indeed, the powerful are often “incapable of shame,” as they appeal to religion to justify their crimes. 
The child whom Herod almost murdered survived long enough to teach us to love the children to whom the Kingdom of God belongs. The killing of the children must end. We must do all in our power to save one another in these times of trouble, for are we not all the children of God?
Blessings to you, Holy Community, for loving the children in your midst. May every child everywhere find in you a generous heart.