US/Russia/China Personal Report from Moscow

US/Russia/China/ relations are not very happy. I quote below from what Dr. Robert Moynihan, editor of Inside the Vatican magazine, wrote on January 3 and 4 from his retreat in a monastery in Manoppello, Italy, about a Skype conversation with his friend in Russia. He wrote, “I don’t know what to do.”

I say, let us pray the Novena in Honor of Jesus as True King for the intention of world peace and our protection. Jesus asked us to pray, “Protect, O Lord our King, our families and the land of our birth. Guard us, we pray, Most Faithful One! Protect us from our enemies and from Your Just Judgment.” You may copy and paste it from here.

Here is what Dr. Moynihan wrote on January 3:

When I [Dr. Moynihan] returned to my room, and opened my computer, the Skype icon appeared and a call came in. Again, it was from Moscow.

“I am thinking that no one is very happy right now,” my caller said. “Russia is certainly not happy, with the ruble collapse and the price of oil cut in half, and the sanctions. But I don’t think the United States is very happy either, with Russia turning toward China. That can’t be seen as a good thing… There is clearly the danger of a direct confrontation, and that will not be good for anyone, especially the simple people of Ukraine, no matter who may win… We would like to try another way…”

“And so?” I asked.

“And so, just as in the past, so now. A concert. Something everyone can support, everyone with human feelings. Verdi’s Requiem. Invite both Putin and Obama, and Merkel, and representatives of the Jewish community… to commemorate all those who died in World War II, and to express the hope of never entering into another so destructive war.”

“And do you really think Putin would attend?” I asked.

“Putin would attend,” he said. “The question might be Obama…”

Around the monastery, an evening wind began to howl. I shook my head.

“I don’t know what to do,” I said. “It seems like such a small gesture, futile. The great powers are already moving, everything is gamed on supercomputers, and we can do nothing to stop the unfolding events…”

“On the contrary,” said my friend. “All it requires is a small act of faith. Do you believe enough to take one step?”

“What step would that be?” I asked…

On January 4, Dr. Moynihan wrote:

Early this evening, I received a third Skype phone call from Moscow.

“Bob,” my Russian friend said. “How are you? I was just wondering whether you had contacted Rome with the proposal for a concert…”

“Not yet,” I said. “I’ll send a note this evening.”

“Please do it,” he said.

So, I wrote an email, explaining the idea of a great Requiem concert to commemorate all of those who died in World War II, with the intent not only of remembering all of them, but also of signifying our hope that no such war will again engulf us. And I sent the email to someone in the Vatican, asking if it might be possible to bring the matter to the attention of Pope Francis himself.

Within moments, to my surprise, I received a response.

It said, On January 6, the Feast of Epiphany, I had already planned to come to Manoppello. We can meet there at the shrine…

So, let us pray (and sing) for peace.

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