Honors and heart-felt appreciation this Memorial Day for the present and past members of our military services. You are defining the virtue of personal sacrifice for the benefit and protection of others.
I am also thinking of another class of veterans whose sacrifice continues to benefit and serve the Church Militant. These are the saints who have handed down the faith to this generation, my generation, in the witness and writings they left to us.
Frankly, I go long stretches of time when our current military personnel do not come to mind. I simply move through my days “as usual” without always noticing why the privilege is still there for me each morning.
For years I acted in a similar way toward the saints of the Church. They, in fact, had functioned as parents in the faith to me but I held them in only the vaguest honor. As I’ve grown older this has somehow begun to change. I’ve discovered the saints actually had something worthwhile to say, even for my 21st century life. As I began to read what they had written down, I realized spiritual benchmarks that had become very plain to me. I recognized they faced spiritual obstacles that were much too familiar to me. The record of their experience and spiritual formation was pertinent to my own.
So my thanks today also to you faithful saints, veterans of the spiritual battles in this fallen world through the ages. Your sacrifices for this generation of the Church have not been forgotten. I am grateful. The moments of silence that I offer are so that I may hear you speak to me, once again.