Saturday, June 05, 2010

June 5, 1944 and Faith

June 5 and Faith.

Sixty Six years ago, the greatest invasion force in history was assembled off the coast of Normandy, France, as we and out Allies prepared to risk life and limb for our values.

Those men in those ships, average age of 22-23, knew that probably many of them would die, and there was no guarantee that any of them would survive. 160,000 would storm the beaches under often withering fire and death all around them of friends and buddies. What do you suppose were their thoughts as they tried to avoid being seasick, filled with fear and foreboding, yet determined to risk it all?

They were taking on themselves the personal challenge of the great Nazi war machine. For what? Perhaps they thought of their sweethearts at home, their parents, children, the American way of life. About 7,009 Allied troops died on D-Day. Except for the terrible casualties on Omaha Beach, most were lucky.

They had faith, the belief in something greater, and a willingness to lay down their lives for the sake of that dream. What awesome sacrifices were made on that weekend, as they stormed ashore, some boats never making it, some drowning when they unloaded into deep water.

So, what is faith? I just completed a paper on the uses and misuses of faith in an open letter to all religious leaders in order to address the severe world crises centering on faith today.

I realized I had not attempted to define what faith is and why it is so important.

Faith is an extraordinary gift, one without measure, the pearl of great price, the moist valuable gift in the world. Faith is a participating in the life of this mystery we call God. We are able to see the world and our world from God’s point of view.

Faith is an invitation into Presence, power, Light, Grace, Healing, Saving, Health, Hope and Love. Faith changes everything.

Is it not significant that Catholics believe in infants Baptism. That is, before any possibility of deserving, with nothing on the table but new life, by the faith of one’s parents, the gift of faith is bestowed on a small child.

An awesome event worth honoring. But then how do we honor faith? By sharing it, by loving service of others. By humble gratitude.

It is curious that the moist recent research on the science of happiness reveals that humble gratitude is the key to both health and happiness (Emmons, Thanks, 2006). Yet the deep-set and most prolific source of humble gratitude is a lively faith.

So, on this precious weekend for American history, be grateful.
Be thankful for those thousands of young Americans willing to die so that we might continue to live in this most incredible country in the history of the world so far, the first nation ever to br founded on principle rather than power. With all its faults and corruption, which are many, it is still a great blessing to be part of this experience. Thank you, Lord, for today.

Help us not take so much for granted. Let us try to deserve the many blessings we have received...

Paschal Baute


Post a Comment

<< Home