God bless you all!
Little sermon for great men
In 1931 a young man wrote: "If I did not have Jesus with me every morning, I would succumb under the weight of my task. All my efforts consist now in improving myself in every manner and in growing more and more so that I can become a leader full of pep who knows his job and his men, a leader committed to them. You must have some prestige in order to be a leader. You can obtain this prestige by generosity, by mutual help, by self-sacrifice. Jesus said: Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends. If only He would permit that it happens to me, I would be so grateful for this."
Jesus heard the prayer of this young man. A few years later, he was admitted at the military school of Saint-Cyr in France, which is the equivalent of West Point in the US army. After his classes, he chose the Alpine troops as a young lieutenant. The Alps Mountains would become the tragic scene of his life and of his death.
In 1940 the war separated him from his family: his wife, Marie-Germaine, whom he married two years previously and his young sons Robert and Philippe. In 1941 it seemed that there was no more hope. Young Lieutenant Tom Morel did not understand it this way. After the demobilization of the French army, he wrote: "We, officers, must acknowledge and make ours two great principles: the first one is that France is immortal. The second one is that one day, we will vanquish."
In the darkest time of our History, Lieutenant Tom Morel kept an invincible hope that he communicated to his men. For him, there was no place for despair. He joined the Resistance because he knew that his country could recover his liberty, at whatever the cost. In fact, soon he would pay with his own life. He died in March 1944, offering his life for his country, but first to God. Three month later, thousands of American, Canadian and British soldiers would die in Normandy. In August of the same year, the second Armored Division of General Leclerc, a great soldier and a man of profound faith, would free Paris. Lieutenant Tom Morel would never see the achievement of his dream to see his country free, but he died with the certitude that his sacrifice was not useless. A few days before he died, he told someone: I always do what I think to be my duty, even though I have to die for this. Where did he find the strength to do this? In the heart of Jesus! "He is my great potential of energy. If He were not in my heart, I could not do anything!"
Dear brethren, today we celebrate the memory of the American soldiers who died for the United State of America. Forgive me if I did not evoke the memory of an American soldier, but I speak of what I know. And I am sure that your army had, and still has the honor to have such great men as Lieutenant Tom Morel in its ranks.
The military virtues are universal and deserve to be respected and honored in every country. They are a testimony of courage, honor and sacrifice. Often they predispose men to the Faith, because these virtues are eminently Catholic, even though they can exist on a mere natural level. It is maybe not a coincidence that the man who provoked the admiration of Jesus Christ for his faith was a Roman Centurion. And among the beautiful figures of the martyrs of the early Church, we can number many soldiers. One of the most famous is certainly Saint Maurice, General of the Legion of Thebans. Saint Maurice shows us that, even though the service of the country is important, the service of God is more important. He was a faithful servant of his Emperor, but when Maximian ordered him to sacrifice to the gods, he could not accept. He would pay his fidelity to Christ by his life.
We remember only the great names of History, the names of those we call today heroes. But there are so many unknown heroes whose lives were a sacrifice offered for liberty, justice and peace. Let us pray to God so that their sacrifices were not useless and that they can find the eternal rest in the place where there is true liberty, true justice and true peace forever. We are not here today to judge of the morality of war. Even when a war is legitimate and conforms to the moral principles taught by the Church, it is still something horrible. Certain ones among you have learned to know it. Certain ones have seen its devastation and its works of death. But wars are not decided by militaries but by politicians. So let us pray to have wise politicians. And let us honor those who have died for their country. They are for the youth of today a beautiful example. May Our Lady obtain for them eternal rest and may the example of their virtues help us to live with a true dignity and sense of honor.
More pictures here: http://diverslaurent.blogspot.com/2007/06/memorial-day.html