The Allied troops occupied Post-World War II Austria. American, British and French troops were in the western part of Austria, and the Soviets were in the eastern part surrounding the capitol, Vienna.[i] Molotov apparently had told the Austrian Chancellor, ‘The Soviets do not leave a territory once we occupy it.’ Fr. Petrus Pavlicek, OFM was living in Vienna at the time.[ii] In 1946, he went to a Marian pilgrimage site in Austria, where he heard an interior voice that said, ‘Do what I tell you, and there will be peace.’ This reminded him of the messages from Fatima. He then founded the ‘Rosary Expiatory Crusade for World Peace.’[iii] From September 1948 onwards, he held monthly devotions in the Franciscan Church in Vienna. In 1949, he began publishing a newsletter, ‘The Praying People of God.’ From 1950 to 1955, he organized an annual Marian procession in Vienna. Then in 1955 a treaty was signed in which all foreign troops pulled out of Austria.[iv] This was the only country the Soviets peacefully left before 1989.
God moves the events of history, and prayer moves God.
The United States has recently seen unprecedented upheaval since the unjust death of George Floyd. Peaceful protests are understandable and an integral part of our democratic system. Riots and looting are never warranted. The destruction of property, the injury of countless people, and the taking of life is not the solution.
What actions should we as Catholics and Americans do to work for justice, peace, and healing in our country?
This blog post and the next few will try to answer this question.
The first thing we must do is pray.
Social upheavals, revolutions, and wars are primarily spiritual battles. This does not preclude political and social action. They are necessary. However, if we want to respond as Catholics and Christians our first duty is to invoke God’s mercy and grace. Fr. Pavlicek shows the importance and efficacy of prayer followed by action.
We invoke God’s mercy for our own sins and the sins of our society: discrimination, greed, abortion, pornography, marital infidelity, violence, hatred, and pride to name a few. We implore his grace for justice, peace, healing, and reconciliation.
I would like to recommend one or more of the following until January 1, 2021 with the very specific intention of restoring justice, unity, and peace to our country:
· Pray at least one decade of the Rosary daily.
· Offer up a small sacrifice daily, i.e. no sweets.
· Offer up your participation in Sunday Mass
· Go to adoration for at least 15 minutes weekly.
· Go to confession monthly.
Prayer should be our first response to all things in life, both the joyful and the troublesome. We must root our confidence in the unchanging God. Every other certainty is, well, uncertain. God is faithful. May God continue to convert all of us, and may God bless America.
Fr. John Bullock, LC
Image: Pixaby – James Chan
[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_State_Treaty [ii] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrus_Pavlicek & https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrus_Pavlicek [iii] https://www.rsk-ma.at/ueberuns/geschichte [iv] https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrus_Pavlicek & https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrian_State_Treaty