Today in Canada, the United States, Great Britain, and rightly so, we honor the men and women who, both in the wars of the past century, and the wars of this millennia still in its infancy, have paid, or are paying this very day, the ultimate price for our freedom.
As the generation that overcame the Nazi horrors of war and holocaust ages, they have been referred to in the United States as that nation’s ‘greatest generation’ – I would argue that title belongs to that generation of all the Allied Nations who served in WWII.
These were both some who had been through the hell of WWI and the many, children of the veterans of that first global carnage, children of the depression.
Yes it is right to honor them today.
To honor those “over there”, wherever there may be today.
It is a day to pay particular tender and grateful attention to their families, their loved ones, ‘over here’.
Nowadays, in the midst of current conflict, I ask myself: What exactly do we mean when we say we are defending freedom?
It is the freedom to beat down Christian beliefs; the freedom to abort little children; the freedom to warehouse the aged and infirm; the freedom to dismantle the authentic family; the freedom to so blur the distinctions between male and female, adult and child only social chaos results; the freedom to make believe that two persons of the same gender can actually form a union?
Or is it the freedom to not think, intelligently, reflectively, maturely, under the guidance of the Truth-Speaking Lord and Giver of Life Himself, the Holy Spirit?
Honor must entail emulation.
The ‘greatest generation’ was not without its sins or problems, weird ideas or weaknesses – but that generation was formed in the heart of a religious and family oriented culture which gave birth to men and women of heroic generosity.
In the sixty years since the original Axis of Evil sought to dominate the lives and souls of the entire world we have virtually abandoned the land as a place of family farms. We have become obsessed with the self, become intellectually non-thinking and twisted truth into a personal feeling about….whatever.
We slaughter more of our own while they begin life in the womb than the millions killed in all the wars of the past century, and still our lust for abortion, our lust for pleasure and consumption appears insatiable.
Now that we have rendered the womb such a dangerous place we are setting our sights on the already born but deemed, for whatever twisted justification fits the moment, deserving we self-indulgently assert, of a merciful death which we will provide.
Perhaps it is the absence of jackbooted, black uniformed, goose-stepping officials telling us to do these things ‘for the greater good’ that we fail to see how, over the past sixty years, we have abandoned the very freedom our heroes died for!
For a time, after the carnage of WWI, we heeded Our Blessed Mother and her clear warnings yes, but also tender invitation to conversion and renewal.
Then, like rebellious adolescents, we discovered in the sixties that if we whined enough or argued enough we could convince ourselves God was dead – and therein completely forgot that the real truth is the Son of God died and rose for us and is very much alive, calling us, in the classic words of Pope John Paul, to the “Gospel of Life!”
We dismissed the urgent plea and warnings of Pope Paul VI as being the hardheartedness of an old man out of touch with the real world.
When it came to objective truth, the sacredness of each person, teachings of Pope John Paul II, the alleged intellectuals, some sadly among the ranks of the clergy, are still apoplectic over such a clear enunciation of the conjunction of faith and reason leading to the splendor, not only of objective truth, but to the Person who is Truth.
Pope Benedict before and since the Conclave has been clear about what is destroying our very culture and nations, yet who takes notice?
I take this day very seriously, do honor both the fallen and those now serving, but to truly honor them who are ‘over there’ is for us who are ‘over here’ to push back the culture of death and build the civilization of love.
Today a seminarian from Brazil sent me a copy of a powerful letter he has written to various ecclesial and governmental leaders to advocate for the protection of the unborn. Also an expectant mother whose father is ill with cancer sent me this statement of trust from John Henry Cardinal Newman, who please God will soon be elevated among the ranks of the saints:
“Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him; He does nothing in vain. He may prolong my life, He may shorten it; He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends, He may throw me among strangers, He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide the future from me...still He knows what He is about! “
Their letters served to enhance what was my day’s meditation and God bless them for inspiring my words today.
We have lost all rational understanding of what true freedom is because we have lost faith.
We need to hear, without fear, and heed with great urgency, the words of the Lord to the Church in Ephesus as addressed to all the Western Nations, and to our own hearts: ….I hold this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Realize how far you have fallen. Repent…..[cf. Rev.2:4ff]