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A thank you prayer for our Catholic veterans, steadfast defenders of freedom and faith
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It is a historical fact that Catholic armies have saved the world many times over. Whether turning back the tides of hostile Islamic invasions, or defending the Church from mad kings and despots, Catholics have always answered the call to combat evil. This Veteran's Day, we give thanks to the millions of Catholic-American veterans who left behind the comforts of home to serve in the vanguards, or to stand watch over our nation, which is home to more than70 millions Catholics welcome to practice their faith freely.
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May God bless all our veterans, by whose sacrifices we remain free.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Today we thank all our veterans, who have sacrificed and served to keep our nation free. However, as Catholics we would like to offer a special thank you to our closest brothers and sisters in Christ, our Catholic veterans.
Catholics have served faithfully in every conflict endured by our great nation. They are genuine patriots, sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. They do not serve merely for the benefit of fellow Catholics, but for all.
Our religious freedom, enshrined in the First Amendment of the Constitution, is actively defended by each Catholic veteran. We remain free to worship God, to attend Mass, to pay the Rosary and to offer our religious allegiance to the Holy Father in Rome and Jesus Christ precisely because of our veterans. It is our strength and the willingness of many to serve that discourages all who envy our freedom and despise our faith.
We recognize the Catholics who have served in combat. Stories abound of their example of faith. The Hail Mary, a simple prayer, easy to follow, has often been shared between Catholics, Protestants, and believers and non-believers of every stripe in the world's foxholes. And there is no doubt these prayers have brought comfort and aid to many in their hour of need.
We recognize the Catholics who did not face the horrors of war, and the dangers of sudden death. While spared this suffering, they still sacrificed, leaving families, comforts, and luxury behind to serve. They accepted a spartan life, filled with strict routine, boredom, and sharp commands to stand ready to do harm to any who would harm to us. Whether standing by with a weapon, or a broom, each person has served in an essential role to guarantee the safe and smooth operation of the vast machine that is our military. Let it be remembered always, in the words of John Milton, "they also serve who stand and wait."
So for our veterans, let us now pray:
Heavenly Father, we ask you to look down upon our brothers and sisters in arms, and bless them as they stand ready to defend your children from the agents of evil.
For those who are preparing to serve and training to serve, we ask you to make them strong and resolute. May they learn to obey and serve, so that in the hour of need they will serve ably and honorably, carrying on the tradition to defend the people, their faith, and our Constitution.
For those who serve, standing and waiting, we ask you to send blessings of comfort and encouragement. May they know they are not forgotten, either by you or by their loved ones at home. Whether in the bowels of ships, the heat of a distant desert, or watching across the violent expanse of a no man's land, we honor them. Whether armed with a rifle, a pen, or a humble implement, we are grateful for their labor which keeps us free at home to worship and pray.
For those who experience the horrors of war, we most fervently beseech you, Oh Lord, to place your hand upon their hearts, steady them in battle. It is you who teaches their hands to war and their fingers to fight. Be their shield and bulwark in battle, and make them swift and accurate. Dispel all enemies before them, that your people be saved and peace may reign.
For those who have returned from service, we ask your special intercession. In returning home, many of your sons and daughters face new battles with enemies, lethal as bullets. Embrace these children of discord, and hold them tightly to your bosom, Lord, so they may know your comfort in their darkest moments. Restore sight to their eyes, and shine radiant upon their faces, that they may walk not in the shadows which ensnare, but in the light of your glory.
For our wounded veterans, who bear scars in their hearts, minds, and bodies, we ask your blessing. Lord, cherish this wounded legion, invited to share in the suffering of Christ. May they see Christ though their pain, and find hope in His promises. We await the day your make their bodies and their hearts whole once again.
For those who have left their uniform hanging in the past, who move with difficulty, who reflect with a distant gaze upon times better unknown, we ask you to send peace. Let ancient wrongs be pardoned and forgot. Give these veterans comfort and peace. May they live long as examples of courage and faith, and may they inspire their children and grandchildren to stand ready to defend our Constitution, our God-given rights, and our faith.
We thank you Lord, for the multitude of blessings you have given us. We are grateful for the time you have given us with these courageous people.
May you raise up all our dear veterans in the palm of your hand, and bless them as we turn their swords into plowshares. We give thanks to you O Lord, Our God.
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