Monday, May 28, 2007

In Memoriam

Memorial Day is ironic. It is advertised as the beginning of the summer season. Yet its substance remembers those who sacrificed serving our country. Sacrifice connotes more than death, the ultimate sacrifice.

Today as cemeteries fill with young men and women, with the youthfulness of boys and girls and the blossoming maturation of young adults, many more "living sacrifices" walk with prostheses, crutches and canes. Others walk wounded in ways, which others cannot see.

Their pain is very real, and to most of us far beyond what we can imagine. The pain of parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, lovers and friends is equally real. The photograph on the front page of the New York Times is arresting.
[online it is the first photo in the slide show, In Memoriam, at this page of the New York Times; it may change]
It portrays tenderness; secret intimacy, which bright sunlight cannot invade; the pain of trying to get close; as well as the felt knowledge that the fiancee photographed will never get any close to her fiance this side of heaven.

What to offer her? Could any offering at all be sufficient? Certainly words cannot mitigate the young woman's pain or soften her wretched future. Yet one could offer her hope without taking away her pain but accompanying her through it.

Today, Jesuit Father Mark J. George preached a fine homily at the Gesu Parish mass on this holiday. Of Catholics' many obligations as both citizens of the Kingdom of God and of the United States, our first obligation is to be people of faith who offer hope.

"Hope serves the truth," Fr. George emphasized. His emphasis paves a way to live for others. Who knows when any of us will need another to offer hope to us?
Wiki-image of the Air Force Cross is in the public domian.

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