You Leave It but it NEVER Leaves You

Those who have never served the nation in a military capacity or shared the life of a military man or woman in some way may benefit by this retrospective glance:

By Dick Roberts

Once in a great while I venture back to a military post where I’m greeted at the gate by an imposing security guard who looks carefully at my retired ID cardands it back and says, “Have a good day, Colonel!” As I return to any military post it feels a bit strange to be called by the rank I once held and at the same time a bit odd to be in civilian clothes, walking among the today’s servicemen and servicewomen who are going about their business with the same zeal that I once did many years ago. It’s somewhat of an out of body experience for me, and I am so impressed by what I see and hear.

The military space provides a comfort zone of sorts for anyone who has ever worn the uniform. It’s a place where you still know the rules and know that they are enforced — a place where everybody is very busy, but not too busy to take care of business in a professional manner. There exists behind these gates an institutionalized understanding of respect, order, uniformity, accountability and dedication that became part of your marrow and never left you. Going back heightens your awareness of that fact as you witness it again , now a spectator, in spades right before your eyes. Was I ever part of this you might ask?

If pressed I might say that I miss the fact that you always knew where you stood in the military and with whom you were dealing . You could read somebody’s uniform from 20 feet away and pretty much know the score. One might say that military personnel wear their careers on their uniforms. As you approach each other you can read the person’s name tag, see his rank and, if he is in dress uniform, read patches and awards to get any idea where he ‘s served and what he’s done before you even get to know him. That has not changed.

I might also admit that I sometimes miss all those little things you take for granted when you’re in warrior ranks — the sight of troops running in the early morning mist, the sound of boot heels thumping in unison on streets, the cadence bark of a formation leader and the sing-song responses from the formation .

Trust me though, I would never romanticize military service too much by its “jodie calls” because it’s very serious business at all times, and especially in time of war to which I can attest. But just the same I miss the professional camaraderie of airborne infantryman and their swagger/ esprit de corps, the “can do” Ranger mindset. I also miss the smell of jet fuel hanging heavily on the night air and the sound of engines roaring down runways and soaring into the clouds and lots, lots more.

I even miss a tiny bit “ the hurry-up-and-wait” mentality that enlisted men griped about constantly, a masterful invention that bonded our soldiers more than they’ll ever know or admit.

I do miss people taking off their hats when they enter a building, speaking directly and clearly to others and never showing disrespect for rank, race, religion or gender.

I miss being a player in this vast team whose arms circle this Earth and always cares for the needs of all its players as its first priority.

Mostly though I miss the likes of you and the many fine young men who were entrusted to my care in peace and war, a privilege like none other in this life …

Frankly , I don’t know anyone who served who regrets it and does not feel a sense of pride when they pass through those gates and ever so briefly and re-enter the world they left behind many years ago – even if we are a bit out of place now.

Face it guys – we all miss it`to one degree or another …………Whether you had one tour or a career, it shaped your life.


Reading 1 EST C:12, 14-16, 23-25

Queen Esther, seized with mortal anguish,
had recourse to the LORD.
She lay prostrate upon the ground, together with her handmaids,
from morning until evening, and said:
“God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, blessed are you.
Help me, who am alone and have no help but you,
for I am taking my life in my hand.
As a child I used to hear from the books of my forefathers
that you, O LORD, always free those who are pleasing to you.
Now help me, who am alone and have no one but you,
O LORD, my God.

“And now, come to help me, an orphan.
Put in my mouth persuasive words in the presence of the lion
and turn his heart to hatred for our enemy,
so that he and those who are in league with him may perish.
Save us from the hand of our enemies;
turn our mourning into gladness
and our sorrows into wholeness.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 138:1-2AB, 2CDE-3, 7C-8

R. (3a) Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
Your right hand saves me.
The LORD will complete what he has done for me;
your kindness, O LORD, endures forever;
forsake not the work of your hands.
R. Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.

Verse Before The Gospel PS 51:12A, 14A

A clean heart create for me, God;
give me back the joy of your salvation.

Gospel MT 7:7-12

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Which one of you would hand his son a stone
when he asked for a loaf of bread,
or a snake when he asked for a fish?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your heavenly Father give good things
to those who ask him.

“Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.
This is the law and the prophets.”



Church Fathers on the Eucharist and Real Presence




Pastoral document by USCCB

The friendship of God – St. Irenaeus

From the treatise Against Heresies by Saint Irenaeus, bishop The friendship of Godd

Our Lord, the Word of God, first drew men to God as servants, but later he freed those made subject to him. He himself testified to this: I do not call you servants any longer, for a servant does not know what his master is doing. Instead I call you friends, since I have made known to you everything that I have learned from my Father. Friendship with God brings the gift of immortality to those who accept it.

In the beginning God created Adam, not because he needed man, but because he wanted to have someone on whom to bestow his blessings. Not only before Adam but also before all creation, the Word was glorifying the Father in whom he dwelt, and was himself being glorified by the Father. The Word himself said: Father, glorify me with that glory I had with you before the world was.

Nor did the Lord need our service. He commanded us to follow him, but his was the gift of salvation. To follow the Savior is to share in salvation; to follow the light is to enjoy the light. Those who are in the light do not illuminate the light but are themselves illuminated and enlightened by the light. They add nothing to the light; rather, they are beneficiaries, for they are enlightened by the light.

The same is true of service to God: it adds nothing to God, nor does God need the service of man. Rather, he gives life and immortality and eternal glory to those who follow and serve him. He confers a benefit on his servants in return for their service and on his followers in return for their loyalty, but he receives no benefit from them. He is rich, perfect and in need of nothing.

The reason why God requires service from man is this: because he is good and merciful he desires to confer benefits on those who persevere in his service. In proportion to God’s need of nothing is man’s need for communion with God.

This is the glory of man: to persevere and remain in the service of God. For this reason the Lord told his disciples: You did not choose me but I chose you. He meant that his disciples did not glorify him by following him, but in following the Son of God they were glorified by him. As he said: I wish that where I am they also may be, that they may see my glory.

Two bodies, but a single spirit

From a sermon by Saint Gregory Nazianzen, bishop Two bodies, but a single spirit

Basil and I were both in Athens. We had come, like streams of a river, from the same source in our native land, had separated from each other in pursuit of learning, and were now united again as if by plan, for God so arranged it.

I was not alone at that time in my regard for my friend, the great Basil. I knew his irreproachable conduct, and the maturity and wisdom of his conversation. I sought to persuade others, to whom he was less well known, to have the same regard for him. Many fell immediately under his spell, for they had already heard of him by reputation and hearsay.

What was the outcome? Almost alone of those who had come to Athens to study he was exempted from the customary ceremonies of initiation for he was held in higher honor than his status as a first-year student seemed to warrant.

Such was the prelude to our friendship, the kindling of that flame that was to bind us together. In this way we began to feel affection for each other. When, in the course of time, we acknowledged our friendship and recognized that our ambition was a life of true wisdom, we became everything to each other: we shared the same lodging, the same table, the same desires, the same goal. Our love for each other grew daily warmer and deeper.

The same hope inspired us: the pursuit of learning. This is an ambition especially subject to envy. Yet between us there was no envy. On the contrary, we made capital out of our rivalry. Our rivalry consisted, not in seeking the first place for oneself but in yielding it to the other, for we each looked on the other’s success as his own.

We seemed to be two bodies with a single spirit. Though we cannot believe those who claim that “everything is contained in everything,” yet you must believe that in our case each of us was in the other and with the other.

Our single object and ambition was virtue, and a life of hope in the blessings that are to come; we wanted to withdraw from this world before we departed from it. With this end in view we ordered our lives and all our actions. We followed the guidance of God’s law and spurred each other on to virtue. If it is not too boastful to say, we found in each other a standard and rule for discerning right from wrong.

Different men have different names, which they owe to their parents or to themselves, that is, to their own pursuits and achievements. But our great pursuit, the great name we wanted, was to be Christians, to be called Christians.