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May 30, 2010
We Must Always RememberThis weekend we celebrate one of the more important of our national holidays, i.e., Memorial Day. It is not a religious feast but if we stop and think about it for a short while we can easily make this connection for ourselves.
Memorial Day originated shortly after the Civil War. It was first know 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.
The past few weeks gave us a chance to hear Christ’s promise of Peace in our lives. We heard it on Easter and again on Pentecost and a couple of times in between. Sadly we do not always pay close attention to the words of scripture because we have become accustomed to the stories and consequently we tune the readings off. This is a much greater loss than we realize.
The gift of Peace comes from the Holy Spirit who lives among us on a daily basis. Actually, the Holy Spirit is the only one who is able to bring us this gift 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. Do we believe in and understand the power of the Holy Spirit? Why do we not recognize this presence?
The work of the Holy Spirit very often goes unrecognized because it comes in a way that we do not expect. While we are looking one way, the Spirit visits us from the other direction. When we are thinking in one manner, the Spirit knocks at the door of our mind from a completely different aspect of thought. Why does the Spirit do this? It is primarily because his work is to help us see the truth of God’s kingdom, not the truth of our own kingdom. If the Holy Spirit eludes us with the thought of how we are to attain Peace in our world, perhaps we should open the doors and windows of our hearts and minds and allow the work of the Holy Sprit to enter the very depths of our being. Only then will we be able to see the possibility of Peace.
Lorette P. Nault