The Psalms in Times of War
reader asked the other day, how is it that with the millions of prayers offered daily for Ukraine (actually billions around the world) that God allows the ongoing death and destruction? It’s a good question. A hard one.
It’s been asked for thousands of years in times of war, as well as during plagues, floods, fires, earthquakes, drought, famine that – pace the environmentalists – are part of the natural history of the human race. Anyone who reads the psalms in the Bible or daily prays the Liturgy of the Hours, knows that it’s been a central lament even in Scripture. Lord, we trust in you, but are you really there for us when we need you most?
This existential question is even more troubling than the usual questions of war and diplomacy. In secular terms, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has united Europe, America, and most of the world’s nations. Despite differences of opinion about earlier policies or the threat of Western decadence, even Poland and Hungary, which in the recent past leaned towards Putin on cultural questions and resisted the European Union’s “woke” cultural imperialism, have joined the rest of the civilized world in calling the invasion wrong.
If that can happen at the mundane human level, where is the divine solidarity we would expect in this just cause?