The Catholic Defender: Flash from the Past in Iraq
It was a Tuesday, March 20,2007 At Joint Security Station Sadr City, another miracle took place today as we received wounded soldiers at the Troop Medical Clinic (TMC). They were hit by sniper fire, after discovering a major IED that would have done much damage. The enemy planned to detonate the IED and then shoot at the first responders.
Because they didn't use the IED (it was blown up by us with no one hurt, the soldiers that were wounded will survive and be fine. Everything went perfect from the recovering of the wounded to getting them here at the TMC, to getting them to higher. It still takes a lot out of ya, that is for sure.
Tonight, (Friday March 23, 2007) we held a memorial service for four of our fallen comrades, one of them being a medic. They were not of our Battalion but were very close to us. The Medic worked at the TMC with some of my soldiers the night before he was killed.
I had the chance to meet a Chaplain from another unit who also attended the service. We spoke for almost an hour after I found out he was an Anglican Minister. I asked him what he thought of the many Episcopal Priests that have become Catholic to include the CNN story that was followed by the New York Times indicating a return of nearly 75 million Anglicans to Rome. He was very excited about this. He said that his bishop and his congregation had left the Episcopal union themselves to follow a Bishop in Africa.
I told him of the phenomenal growth of the Catholic Church in Africa and he was again excited about the prospect of his group and the Catholic Church coming together. I gave him a Divine Mercy Chaplet medal and he gave me a Chaplains coin. Did any of you know that St. George is the Patron Saint of the Cavalry? Cool beans! This Saturday, we will do rehearsals for the Easter Vigil regarding the RCIA Candidates. What a blessed time this will be for us and for the world. God bless you all.
Last night( Saturday March 24, 2007) was really a great time. We are meeting one more evening (next Saturday) for the last time. But tonight went very well. One of the RCIA catachmens I have is 18 years old. He is in my company so we have had good talks in the past. He was having some difficulty with his section because they are not practicing Catholics. Most of them have been rebelling fairly forcefully and giving this soldier a tough time. I've become a support to him as I have cleared out a lot of the garbage they were doing to him.
I gave him a good Confirmation present, I was able to get our Battalion Commander to serve as his Confirmation sponsor. Now I got to get him a Baptismal sponsor as well. Great story! Last night I intended to let them out an hour early when I offered them to ask me any question under the sun. Man, we ended up staying an hour and a half later cause they wouldn't let me go. Not one person left because we were caught up in the moment. I felt pretty good about it, but even better due everyone's responses and actions. God is so good and may He be glorified in us in all we do!
Today, (Tuesday March 27, 2007) as I prayed the rosary at the chapel (11:30 our time) I set up for Mass that would begin at 12:00. I sat down for the second mystery when I began to sweat profusely. I became very weak and felt like fainting.
I was having difficulty even through the Mass. I used the occasion to understand the hunger for Christ in the Eucharist. I was almost drenched with sweat by that time. A couple of my RCIA Candidates came in to participate with the Mass and so I began to be strengthened. I did hunger for the Lord and I began to feel better after receiving Him in Communion. So much so that I was able to talk and answer questions from my guys after the Mass.
I was able to make the walk to the dining facility and get some good food in. Have to tell ya, that was an interesting experience. God can use all kinds of situations to teach a dog new tricks.
Friday, 30 March 2007, I was very exited about a new stranger! I wrote "Come on around my friends, I have a story to tell. Today, I was doing inventory of one of my soldiers who was recently shot and wounded. He had to be medevaced back to the States.
Going through his things bagging it all up is something you hate to do at anytime. I am thankful he will survive and will recover with all his pieces intact. That is a blessing in which I'm thankful to you and your guardian angels you've been sending, (right Gigi)! As it was getting close to 11:30, I locked everything up so I could make it to the chapel for the rosary then Mass before lunch. Just before Mass, I was getting John Michael Talbot on for a song before Mass. This helps people get their minds ready for Mass. In walks a soldier whom I never seen before. He came in the Chapel looking for me. He told me that of all the men in the world I was the one he needed to talk to. I was honored that he thought so, one of the priests sent him my way believing that I could help him. He had several dreams that were bothering him, a number of things happening to him.
I invited him to go to Mass with me as Father was already starting. He did join us, then we talked for almost 2 hours during lunch. I was a bit late getting back to the inventory, but what a blessing. He is now going to become Catholic. What a blessing to play a part. We will be getting together again tomorrow night at RCIA!"
What a joy it was to have the chance to serve Our Lord and Our Lady during a time when there was much stress in the face of daily danger. It was important to be technically and tactfully competent know what to do at a moments notice.
To save lives on the battle field or at the place of higher care, that is a Soldier we were able to help return home to their families. That is worth more than any medals that we might receive for such action.
In truth, we are His Medals when we do His will in saving lives and also saving souls. There is a connection in all this.
Heavenly Father, Forgive those who trespass against me. Protect us from evil And shield us from harm. You are my armor, my protection, and my sword. Preserve us in our hour of need, In Jesus' name. Amen.