Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

Ave Maria!

Carlisle Hotel Veteran’s Event—9 November A.D. 2011

    Around the time that Madeleine asked me to deliver this invocation I was reading from the Books of Machabees as part of my night prayer—what Catholics call the hour of Matins.  These two books are considered scriptural by Catholics, and supply some of the background needed to understand the origin of Chanukah, the eight holy day celebration of Jewish people.  The Machabees caught my attention because they are the most recent Servicemen to be mentioned favorably in the Bible—hopefully men to whom all Servicemen and Veterans can relate.

    Their story began about three hundred years before Christ, with the death of Alexander the Great, who died at a young age after conquering most of the known world.  On his death his kingdom was divided up among his generals, with two powerful kingdoms located on opposite sides of what today is called Israel, the Ptolemaic Kingdom based in Egypt and the Seleucid empire based in Syria .  Their influence caused the profanation of the Temple at Jerusalem, the martyrdom of many Jews, and a fall-off in the observance of God’s Law.

    But beginning around 160 BC a Jewish priest named Mattathias and his descendants of the Hasmonean dynasty led a revolt to restore the Temple and the observance of the Law.  They are referred to as the Machabees, from what I am told is the Jewish word for “hammer.”

    I submit that the Machabee’s devotion to the law of God, if emulated by modern governors and servicemen, would completely end all unjust wars and unlawful orders.  Their dependence on divine providence for their military victories would likewise make a modern army invincible in just war.

    But, perhaps the most important lesson we can learn from the Machabees was their devotion to prayer.  As we read their story it is clear that they regularly offered prayers and sacrifices for their people and their native land.  We also read about them offering prayers and sacrifices for their allies, in this case the Spartans, even though the Spartans were pagans.[1]  And we read about them offering prayers and sacrifices for their dead comrades: 

    Judas Machabeus “sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection ... And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them.... It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.”[2]

    So, as we celebrate this evening the service of our Military Veterans, I would propose that every American, whether Jewish, Christian, or whatever ought to emulate the example of these brave warriors, the Machabees:

    Emulate them with devotion to God’s Law and His divine providence

    Emulate them with devotion to prayer, for our fallen comrades, for our allies, and for our people and our nation.

    God bless us all;  God bless those who are no longer with us, and God bless these united States of America!


Dei via est íntegra
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