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Military, Martyrs and Memorial Day Meals

Posted: May 25, 2016 | Author: Fr. Leo

When you think of Memorial Day, what do you think of? Cookouts and BBQs? A day off from work or school so that you can enjoy (what you to be) sunny summer weather? Of course, Memorial Day is not just a day off of school or work. It is meant to remember those who gave up their lives for a higher cause they believed in. Specifically, it is a US federal holiday meant to honor those who died while serving in our country's armed forces. But we memorialize these people because they made the ultimate sacrifice, giving up their lives so that we may live ours. So hopefully, it is a time for family and remembrance.

A military funeral procession. (courtesy of: Wikipedia)

Does this sound familiar? It certainly should. Jesus himself performed the greatest act of love in human history when he bore the cross and died a criminal's death so that the Scriptures may be fulfilled. As a matter of faith, according to the Apostle's Creed, Jesus "suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried." He even "descended into hell" before rising from the dead on the third day, acting as Savior to the just who had died before Him. (Check out this link to the Catechism for more information on this point). And following His death and resurrection, many men and women have made a similar sacrifice of their lives in order to glorify God and to save others. 

We should also remember those who mourn the loss of loved ones. If you know of people who lost a family member who served in the military, perhaps reach out by phone, letter, or in person to show your love and concern.

As you can imagine, there are many, many martyrs among the saints, from St. Peter to St. Maximillian Kolbe, and they are rightfully given special recognition because they gave up their life. In a culture where the value of life and what constitutes life is questioned, it is good to know that we have a day to really recognize and remember our military men and women who did the same. Appropriately, May 30 is the feast day for St. Joan of Arc, a soldier and martyr herself.

St. Joan of Arc at the Coronation of Charles VII (courtesy of: Wikipedia)

Whether soldiers or saints, let us respect and celebrate the occasion with a proper prayerful perspective. We remember the loved ones in our lives who we may have lost to war or violence, but we also remember those who gave their entire lives to serving others and demonstrating love in so many ways, in essence "showing the face of God" to many who may not have known it. So I hope you take this weekend as a time to spend with your family and friends, to eat good food and drink good drink, and most importantly, to offer a prayer and a thought for those who made the ultimate sacrifice for you. 

And just in case, on a lighter note, if you want a good cookout recipe for the weekend, here is a classic: Beer-B-Q Sausage. Cook it up and serve it on a bun. Just be sure to enjoy it with family.

Beer-B-Q Sausage - a great recipe for cookouts. Period. 

Let Us Pray 

Dear Lord, your love transcends human understanding, but you show us Your face through the sacrificial acts of saints, martyrs, and military men and women. Please bless these souls and the families who mourn their loss, and may we take the time to appreciate their acts of valor, selflessness, and good faith to serve others. May we be willing to live and die in Your name, and to be heroic in virtue and in our actions, so that many more may come to see your face. Through Christ, our Lord, Amen.

Food for Thought

1. Have you lost a loved one who served in the military? If so, how do you honor their memory?

2. If faced with a life and death situation, how do you think you would respond?

3. What are your plans for Memorial Day?