Friday, May 22, 2015

Memorial Day - In Honor of Those Who Died Serving

My Dad, a Navy Lieutenant
If you know anything about me, you know that I <3 the military! I come from a family with military service roots - my father and brother both served in the Navy. I could not be more proud of them! If I wasn't such a wimp, as I am not athletic in any way, I might have served, too. But frankly the thought of being whipped into shape through boot camp does not appeal. That alone makes me respect our military men and women! God bless you for all you do! The idea of people going through boot camp, then being shipped off to serve only God knows where, whether in war or peace, for various agendas designed to ensure the freedom of our country and all truly humbles me that anyone willingly chooses this course for their life.

But war happens. Accidents happen. Life happens. And life is not fair. Death happens. And death happens a lot in the military. Our soldiers, knowing the dangers they may or may not face, walk headlong into the fray. Why? It's more than just a pay check, because they aren't in it for the money. What money?! They do it because of a deeper sense of purpose. They are made of honorable stuff, clinging to a somewhat fading ideal that this country and its ideals are worth fighting for.

We are not worthy of their service or their sacrifice, in my humble opinion. We send them off to fight in countries that don't want our help. We put them in harm's way abroad - sometimes for the greater good, but mostly because of political agendas - and we expose our own country to danger by spreading the military so thin. And don't get me started about the overall liberal agenda here and abroad. And as the result of war, conflict, and terrorism, many of our family members...our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, children...are killed while serving others.

Are you moved by their sacrifice? I believe many Americans are not. Is the shock of seeing so many flag-draped coffins dulled because it so commonplace? We see it on the news a lot - crates containing the precious remains of American soldiers returning to the US for burial. Do Americans just think that death is a risk of enlisting? I mean, who would be dumb enough to enlist when they could die in the line of duty in Syria? It's not my family, so why should I care? I'm looking out for Numero Uno. Not my problem. Is that it?

Maybe that is why Memorial Day has become about barbecues and parties. Does it cross anyone's mind while swigging that beer or flipping that patty that the whole reason you have today off from work is because people are dead? Maybe in those moments of peace and relaxation we should breathe a prayer of thanksgiving to the Almighty that we have such a blessed country with a volunteer military who serves us daily. Maybe we should take a moment to reflect on the staggering number of men and women who have died in the name of democracy and American freedoms.

It's hard to appreciate what you have when you don't realize what life would be like without it. Most of us were born here in the United States, taking every freedom for granted from birth. Can you imagine what life would be like to be born in Cuba? Iraq? And somehow to make it to the United States later in life? How much would they appreciate the freedoms we freely abuse? How easy it is to forget that the military protect these freedoms for us. They try to obtain these freedoms for others. And so many pay the ultimate price.

Remember them! While you are watching the parade, remember them. When you sit down with your friends and family, remember them. When you open the pool this weekend, remember them. While you laugh and joke, remember them. When you lay your head on your pillow, remember them. And thank God for them. Because God put something great in each one of those men and women, and the earth will never see their like again. And we are a little bit poorer for their loss.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Chaplet of Divine Mercy

Divine Mercy Rosary Chaplet
The image of the Divine Mercy was revealed to Sister Faustina Kowalska. She was of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy. The rays coming from the heart of Christ represent the blood and water which came from his pierced heart when he died. It reads, "Jesus, I trust in You." Jesus revealed to Sister Faustina:

Say unceasingly this chaplet that I have taught you. Anyone who says it will receive great mercy at the hour of death. Priests will recommend it to sinners as the last hope. Even the most hardened sinner, if he recites this chaplet even once, will receive grace from My infinite mercy. I want the whole world to know My infinite mercy. I want to give unimaginable graces to those who trust in My mercy.

What a beautiful gift He has given us! How can we turn away from such grace? Do you know that there is nothing you can do to earn this grace? Nothing you can do to wash away the stains of your mistakes and awful decisions. But there is also nothing you can do that is so horrible, sick, disgusting or twisted that God won't forgive you? All you need to do is trust in Jesus. Say it! Jesus, I trust in You!!

The prayers of the chaplet are beautiful. Read them here:

You expired, Jesus but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.

O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!

Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.

For the sake of His sorrowful Passion have mercy on us and the whole world.

Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and the whole world. Amen!!