What Do We Remember Today?

It’s easy to get caught up in the issues we face as a community of faith, and we can often set aside or relegate gratitude to second place in our lives of faith. Gratitude is perhaps one of the most important parts of prayer and no matter how we pray, if we’re not beginning and ending with gratitude we soon forget all the Lord has done for us and we lose perspective, focus and insight and we quickly become defensive and negative as Christians. Today is an especially opportune time to think about this. Jesus heals ten, only one is truly grateful – when the others get what they are looking for; off they go. The crowds that show up at the cenotaphs and war memorials today dwindle in number. Fewer and fewer of us show up to commemorate the fallen and those who sacrificed so much for all of us; for our freedom, including the freedom of religion and religious practice that many of us, myself included take for granted today. On this day when we celebrate Remembrance Day or Veteran’s Day, instead of allowing it to pass unnoticed, may we take the time to really reflect in gratitude for what has been given to us by those who have gone before us. Many men and women made the sacrifice of their lives in the wars of the 20th century, others give themselves to this commitment today. This is not far from the sacrifice of men and women who have died martyr’s deaths for their faith. For God and others many have committed everything; their entire lives. When I was beginning my vocational discernment and living at Serra House I was in formation with a young man who was just nineteen at the time. He had a great and heroic spirit about him and loved the military. Often I find, especially among our younger men this desire to live for something greater than themselves and there can be among young men especially this heroic desire to “fight for God and Church” and this desire to “wear the uniform”. I understand this because when I was 18 and 19 I too desired this; not for faith because I was not a Catholic at that time, but to serve in the Canadian Forces. A mistake would be to think young men will grow out of that or to put them down for it. The right approach is to understand that Holy Mother Church is the embodiment of Jesus Christ and what many love – and should love about the Church is that She (we) stand for something powerful in the world! What’s different about us when we get older is that sometimes we realize that we stand for those things in many different ways, but the importance of the “uniform” we wear as a priests, the clerical garb is not insignificant, in fact it is more important than ever. It’s a visible sign that we stand firm in our beliefs. It is a source of true Christian values and I am proud of being a Christian, and trying to become a better one today and every day. As we wear our collar, we too should be reminded that every minute of every day we are given for something that is far more important than ourselves and that we give our lives for that; that is you! When a priest puts on his collar, he should be reminded that his life is given for others, for the people he serves day by day. And we remember. Today we remember. May God bless you.

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