Within the past twenty-four hours, Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, has fallen to the militant Islamist theocratic group the Taliban amidst the ongoing withdrawal of US forces from that country. The US overthrew a previous Taliban-led government in 2001 and has had a military presence in Afghanistan for the past twenty years. The war-weariness among the American people that spurred the withdrawal is understandable, even commendable. Nevertheless, a return to Taliban rule is a travesty for the Afghan people, especially women and religious minorities.

Mindful of the conjunction between this disastrous event and the Solemnity of the Assumption, I’ve composed this prayer to the Blessed Virgin for the protection of the Afghan people and all others who suffer under tyrannical governments or at the hands of violent religious movements:

Holy Mary, Mother of the One Whose heel the serpent has bruised,
Handmaid whose soul magnifies the Lord Who casts the mighty from their thrones,
Empress enthroned in the heavens above all human powers,
Keep the people of Afghanistan in your bosom.

Console them so that the Almighty may wipe the tears from their eyes,
And bring our prayers to the ears of God the Father
for an end to the use of religion as a weapon against others.
Through your Divine Son Christ our Lord,


Image: Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley.

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Nathan Turowsky is a native New Englander and now lives in Upstate New York. A lifelong fascination with religious ritual led him into first the Episcopal Church and then the Catholic Church. An alumnus of Boston University School of Theology and one of the relatively few Catholic alumni of that primarily Wesleyan institution, he is unmarried and works in the nonprofit sector. He writes at Silicate Siesta.

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