Pray For Ukraine, And Then Act

Image by Cynthia A. Marsh, inspired by

I often remind myself that if I am going to pray for something I also need to align my life and actions with that prayer. It’s a way of giving existence to the insistence of my prayer. 

I hope you will join my in praying for Ukraine, and then act. 

A friend of mine, Fr. Volodymyr Steliac, is the priest at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Springs Maryland. He and I were classmates in our doctoral program. My wife and I spent a fun weekend with him and his family, and attended their Ukrainian festival.  

St. Andrew’s is accepting donations and supplies to help care for the people of Ukraine. I hope you will consider supporting their work with:

You can learn more about the church and this work on their Facebook page

The Softener of Evil Hearts
The icon in the above image is called “The Softener of Evil Hearts.” It is one of the few icons of the Theotokos that does not depict the infant Jesus.

It shows seven swords piercing Mary’s heart, three on the left, three on the right, and one from below. They represent the seven sorrows of Mary and Simeon’s words to Mary, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Luke 2:35).

Her seven sorrows are:
1. The prophecy of Simeon;
2. The flight into Egypt;
3. Loss of the Child Jesus for three days;
4. Mary meets Jesus on his way to Calvary;
5. Crucifixion and Death of Jesus;
6. The body of Jesus taken from the Cross; and
7. The burial of Jesus.

Soften our evil hearts, O Mother of God,
And quench the attacks of those who hate us
And loose all straitness of our soul.
For looking on thy holy icon
We are filled with compunction by thy suffering and loving-kindness for us
And we kiss thy wounds;
We are filled with horror for the darts with which we wound thee.
Let us not, O Mother of Compassion,
According to the cruelty of our hearts, 
perish from the cruelty of heart of those near us,
For thou art in truth the Softener of Evil Hearts.

(The above prayer taken from the Akathist to the Mother of God, Softener of Evil Hearts)


  1. Thanks for this information. Like many, I have received many requests for help to Ukraine and am glad to have received one from a source I trust. I have sent a gift to Ukraine via Amazon and prayres.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your wonderful words that I love to read each week, and thank you for sharing this resource for supporting Ukraine.
    I am praying for all in need.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mike, Thanks for the nudge to give existence to the insistence of our prayers. I’ve sent some medical supplies to St. Andrews. I’m reminded of the old adage “all that’s required for evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing”.Lord knows there’s enough evil coursing through this’s world’s veins, but we’ve read the Book and know how the story ends. Still, suffering along the way is a real challenge. Tomorrow’s call to repent strikes a chord, as it’s easy enough to feel like we’re cruising on auto pilot, when the reality is there’s a gap between our growth and God’s expectations.  Thanks also for your part in my personal spiritual journey, Mike. You speak to me and through me to several groups and friends & family. (Hopefully without copyright infringements! 😊). Prayers for you and your mission. May you continue to count your blessings and be a blessing to all you encounter! YBIC,Jeff Jeff

    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jeff, thank you so much for your support of St. Andrew’s efforts. The old adage you quoted reminds me of something Rabbi Heschel saying something like the only thing worse than the evil is indifference to the evil. Repenting from auto-pilot – that’s a good image you gave, thank you.

      I’m so glad to know the posts have been helpful in your journey and I am happy for you to share them.

      God’s peace be with you,


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