Friday, November 11, 2011

In Remembrance, and Gratitude

“This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Along those lines, gang, whether we observe this November 11th as Remembrance Day or Veterans Day, we'd be remiss to mark it without a Catholic composer's tribute to his "greatest friend"....

Especially in this month dedicated to the Holy Souls, may our Glorious Dead know their merited reward. And to the living veterans among us -- especially anyone reading this on the front today -- here and always, no words could ever say enough thanks for the love you've given in our service.

Indeed, even today, some 1.5 million American Catholics wear this nation's uniform at home and abroad. Among them, at least one great friend and brother in this community of ours is checking in from "the sandbox" -- so if you could, please especially keep him and his safe return in your prayers.

Once he's home, see, he'll begin priestly formation for a Chaplain Corps in dire need of reinforcements from this fold.

As if the rigors and strains of Afghanistan weren't enough.

All that said, per house custom on the civil calendar's red-letter days, here, the Prayer for the Nation composed and first delivered in August 1791 by the first American bishop, John Carroll of Baltimore -- a cousin of the lone Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence:
We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope Benedict, the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability. We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance.

To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.