By Devin Watkins
As Pope Francis wrapped up the General Audience on Wednesday, he led those gathered in the Paul VI Hall and online in a special prayer for an end to the war in Ukraine.
He made his own a prayer composed by the Italian Archbishop of Naples, Domenico Battaglia, making a few minor additions.
The Pope’s prayer pleads with God to forgive all of humanity for the brutality of war, which he said turns our hands—created to care and tend the earth—into instruments of death.
Before reciting the prayer, Pope Francis invited Christians to “ask God for forgiveness and to grant peace” amid the pain of the war in Ukraine.
Here below is an unofficial translation of the Pope’s prayer:
Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners!
Lord Jesus, born in the shadows of bombs falling on Kyiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who died in a mother’s arms in a bunker in Kharkiv, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, a 20-year-old sent to the frontlines, have mercy on us!
Lord Jesus, who still behold armed hands in the shadow of your Cross, have mercy on us!
Forgive us, O Lord.
Forgive us, if we are not satisfied with the nails with which we crucified your hands, so we continue to slate our thirst with the blood of those mauled by weapons.
Forgive us, if these hands which You created to care have been transformed into instruments of death.
Forgive us, O Lord, if we continue to kill our brother;
Forgive us, if we continue like Cain to pick up the stones of our fields to kill Abel.
Forgive us, if we continue to justify our cruelty with our labors, if we legitimize the brutality of our actions with our pain.
Forgive us for war, O Lord. Forgive us for war, O Lord.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, we implore You! Stop the hand of Cain!
Illumine our consciences;
May our will not be done;
Abandon us not to our own actions!
Stop us, O Lord, stop us!
And when you have stopped the hand of Cain, care also for him. He is our brother.
O Lord, put a halt to the violence!
Stop us, O Lord!