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May 24, 2009

Memorial Day – A Time to Remember and Be Thankful!

     This weekend we celebrate the national holiday of Memorial Day.  Since we have been at war in the Middle East, this holiday has taken greater depth for many people, especially the parents of service men and women and the younger generation who had not previously had the experience of war during their life time.

    Memorial Day originated shortly after the Civil War.  It was first known as Decoration Day because the widows of the Civil War would go visit the graves of their fallen husbands and decorate them with flowers.  The first official Memorial Day honoring the dead service men was in 1868 and was held at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C. where thousands of service men were honored and their graves decorated.

    Today the holiday has grown to include veterans of all wars since the Civil War.  Everyone who has had a family member in the armed forces, and for that matter, all able bodied Americans who have the American “spirit’ or simply feel they should take the time to pay tribute to the nation’s heroes, try to set aside some time to go to a parade or prayer service or a memorial event organized by some wartime organization such as the American Legion.

    Remembering the fallen heroes causes us to reflect on the meaning of life and the gift that is so preciously taken away during war.  Often we wonder what we can do to ensure their lives were not taken in vain.  This leads us to a reflection on the necessity to strive for peace.  Peace is a state of mind and a state of being that seems to be very rare these days.  It would not be a long stretch to become despondent when reflecting on the possibility of peace in our present world. 

    We could easily allow ourselves to become discouraged about the prospect of peace if we were not a people of faith.  Placing Memorial Day at the end of May more often than not places it within the Easter season not far from the feast of Pentecost.  What connection does the holiday have with Easter and Pentecost?  The answer is Everything!  In short the Holy Spirit is the one who is able to bring us the gift of peace we so passionately desire.  If we are aware of the presence of the spirit’s work and if we are willing to succumb to the Spirit’s Wisdom, we will open ourselves to the Spirit’s work around us and within us.  If we allow the Spirit to work in our lives, we may be able to attain peace.

    The vital question for us this weekend is, “Do we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit?”  Do we actually believe in the potential outcome of the Spirit’s work? Sometimes as Christians, we forget that Christ promised to send his spirit to us so He could be with us always.  As we prepare for the feast of Pentecost for next week, let’s pray to the Holy Spirit that he will help us to bring the peace we so desire.
                                Lorette P. Nault