During the month of May, there are two very special days that occur within nine days of each other. The first event occurred this past Saturday, May 19th, which honors those who are currently serving in our military and today Monday, May 28th as the day that honors those who died during their military service to our country. I believe that Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day (respectively) are not placed in May as a mere coincidence. Seeing the beliefs of our faith intrinsically tied to our human ways, I have long viewed these days as outpouring of what the month of May means to Catholics. Accordingly, it is during May that we offer our devotion to the Mary as a way to celebrate the special gift of love that she passed to her son Jesus and as well, that she provides to each of us.
As son of a sailor and a grandson of a sailor, I have long appreciated the unique and selfless role that members of the Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines and those in the Guard (Coast and National) provide in preserving freedom and peace, all while ensuring the righteousness of justice. Furthermore, I believe that our military provide all of this through love – the love of dignity for all of humanity. Though at times some may question why our nation feels compelled to serve as the peacekeepers for the world, I tend to see that responsibility as a precious gift drenched by a virtuousness of love. The members of our nation’s military are not zealous for the violence of war, but rather, for ensuring that all of God’s children are afforded the basic rights of humanity. These rights, while given to us at birth, were articulated following the atrocities of World War II. It was 70 years ago this December that the international community resolved that nothing so horrific be allowed to happen again. Thus, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was designed to accompany the United Nations Charter and provide a road map of the rights of all people around the world. Within this declaration, the UDHR recognizes “the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as it serves as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”
As the caretakers of this human dignity, our military stand tall and deserve our recognition for their service, in both life and in death. And as citizens of this nation and as members of the broader human family, we are each called upon to use love as the guide post to all that we do. So on this Memorial Day weekend, the St. Agnes School community offers the following prayer:
God of power and mercy, you destroy war and put down earthly pride.
Banish violence from our midst and wipe away our tears, that we may all deserve to be called your sons and daughters.
Keep in your mercy those men and women who have died in the cause of freedom and bring them safely into your kingdom of justice and peace.
We ask this though Jesus Christ our Lord…Amen