Monday, July 20, 2015

Tallest of all the Marines

There's a story about a young Marine named Michael who wrote a letter home to his mother while he was in the hospital after having been wounded in Korea in 1950.  A Navy Chaplain named Father Walter Muldy apparently was given the letter, checked the facts and concluded what was in the letter was true. A year later he read the letter in public for the first time, to a gathering of some 5,000 Marines at the Naval Base in San Diego.  Here is the letter:


Dear Mom,
I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you because no one else would believe it. Maybe even you will find it hard but I have got to tell somebody. First off, I am in a hospital. Now don't worry, ya hear me, don't worry. I was wounded but I'm okay you understand. Okay. The doctor says that I will be up and around in a month. But that's not what I want to tell you.

Remember when I joined the Marines last year; remember when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day. You really didn't have to tell me that. Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel. You even named me after him. Well I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder. Remember the prayer that you taught me? "Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh chord of Heaven adorning," you know the rest of it. Well I said it everyday. Sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting. But always before I went to sleep. I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail way up over the front lines. We were scouting for the Commies. I was plodding along in the bitter cold, my breath was like cigar smoke.
I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when along side of me comes another Marine I never met before. He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen. He must have been 6'4" and built in proportion. It gave me a feeling of security to have such a body near.

Anyway, there we were trudging along. The rest of the patrol spread out. Just to start conversation I said, "Cold ain't it." And then I laughed. Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand. I heard him laugh softly. I looked at him, "I have never seen you before, I thought I knew every man in the outfit."
"I just joined at the last minute", he replied. "The name is Michael."
"Is that so," I said surprised. "That is my name too."
"I know," he said and then went on, "Michael, Michael of the morning ..."

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute. How did he know my name, and a prayer that you had taught me? Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me. Hadn't I taught the prayer to anybody who would listen. Why now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael. Neither of us spoke for a time and then he broke the silence.
"We are going to have some trouble up ahead."

He must have been in fine physical shape or he was breathing so lightly I couldn't see his breath. Mine poured out in great clouds. There was no smile on his face now. Trouble ahead, I thought to myself, well with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation. Snow began to fall in great thick globs. In a brief moment the whole countryside was blotted out. And I was marching in a white fog of sticky particles. My companion disappeared.

"Michael," I shouted in sudden alarm.
I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong, "This will stop shortly."
His prophecy proved to be correct. In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun. The sun was a hard shining disc. I looked back for the rest of the patrol, there was no one in sight. We lost them in that heavy fall of snow. I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.
Mom, my heart stopped. There were seven of them. Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats. Only there wasn't anything funny about them now. Seven rifles were aimed at us.

"Down Michael," I screamed and hit the frozen earth.
I heard those rifles fire almost as one. I heard the bullets. There was Michael still standing. Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range. I expected to see him literally blown to bits. But there he stood, making no effort to fire himself. He was paralyzed with fear. It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest. He was like a bird fascinated by a snake. At least, that was what I thought then. I jumped up to pull him down and that was when I got mine I felt a sudden flame in my chest. I often wondered what it felt like to be hit, now I know..

I remember feeling strong arms around me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow. I opened my eyes, for one last look. I was dying. Maybe I was even dead, I remember thinking well, this is not so bad. Maybe I was looking into the sun. Maybe I was in shock. But it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendor. As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him. He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide, maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him like the wings of an angel. In his hands was a sword. A sword that flashed with a million lights. Well, that is the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me. I do not know how much time had passed. Now and then I had but a moment's rest from the pain and fever. I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

"Where is Michael," I asked.
I saw them look at one another. "Where's who?" asked one.
"Michael, Michael the big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."
"Kid," said the sergeant, "You weren't walking with anyone. I had my eyes on you the whole time. You were getting too far out. I was just going to call you in when you disappeared in the snow."
He looked at me, curiously. "How did you do it kid?"
"How'd I do what?" I asked half angry despite my wound. "This marine named Michael and I were just ..."

"Son," said the sergeant kindly, " I picked out this outfit myself and there just ain't another Michael in it. You are the only Mike in it."

He paused for a minute, "Just how did you do it kid? We heard shots. There hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle. And there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."
I didn't say anything, what could I say. I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then the sergeant spoke again, "Kid," he said gently, "every one of those seven Commies was killed by a sword stroke."

That is all I can tell you Mom. As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes, it may have been the cold or the pain. But that is what happened.

Love, Michael


Michael, Michael of the morning,
Fresh chord of Heaven adorning,
Keep me safe today,
And in time of temptation
Drive the devil away.
Amen.

***
I was looking for a prayer that I could send to my brother while he's doing the marine boot camp and found the story above.

Please help us pray for my brother, Recruit Phillip P.
Let us also not forget to pray for those people who are defending us, protecting us and helping us have peace.






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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Surprising Things That Happened To Me After Going To Adoration More Often

I just recently became a full time employee last July 6 and this means that I have to go to work an hour earlier than before, 8:15 am to be exact. This also means that because I have always been paranoid about being late for work, I always make it sure that I am already in Manhattan 30 to 45 minutes ahead of my scheduled time.

Last year, I used to visit Trader Joes and then Rite Aid to spend 30 minutes of my spare time before I bother our receptionist for 15 minutes and then I clock in for work.

Since the change, I am now attending the 7:30 am mass at the Church of St. Paul the Apostle followed by a short adoration before I speed walk 10 blocks going to work.

I am such a good Christian. High five for me! Kidding.

The reason why I am writing this blog entry right now is because of this article that I saw on my facebook wall... 10 Surprising Things That Happen When You Go To Adoration More Often

There are still days that I honestly dislike the idea of walking 10 blocks just to go to mass. Days like this morning when I prayed to God to push me to go to church from the subway station because I want to but I really don't want to be there.


1. You develop a sense of awe and wonder
2. You experience peace in other areas of your life
7* You realize how fortunate you are

 Every time I leave the church and walk the 10 blocks, I noticed that I am praying more with thank yous and adoration. I always thank the Lord for everything in my life but since going to the mass in the morning, I realized that I honestly mean it more now. I am thanking God because I am feeling an overflowing feeling of peace, happiness, contentment and gratefulness for everything that is going on in my life. It's not a thank you because I know I should thank Him. I am really in awe, amazed and thankful for all the things He did for me.

3. You begin to look outwardly

Praying for others became easier. I didn't feel the need to pray more for myself and think that I am just wasting my time praying for other people. Harsh but true. If you are still building a relationship with God and your faith is weak, all you wanted to do is make sure that you are praying clearly for your petitions. It might not be true for others but for me it is. I know my relationship with Him is getting weaker when I just couldn't stop reminding Him about what I desire for myself. More time praising and adoring God means you can look beyond your own concerns and see the needs of others in your life and in the world that we live in. 


5. You become excited to go to adoration

I am honestly excited to meet Him tomorrow! I still have those thoughts from the enemy telling me that I shouldn't go but I know that I can always pray for my angels to guide me and push me to the church door.

6. Grace enters your life
10* You fall in love

The more I spend time with Him, the more I get to know Him. Spending time with Him allows me to open up myself to experience His love. I am allowing Jesus to love me fully, as a sinner and as somebody who wants to have a relationship with Him. His unconditional love for me makes me fall in love with Him too.

4* You get bored sometimes

The priest mentioned in his homily this morning that we can never be always a Christian in our lifetime. Christian by definition means that we are followers of Christ's teachings. It is hard to be constantly asking "What would Jesus do?". But it's ok because God isn't finished with me yet..we make mistakes and we continue to persevere in this journey to be like Him.

Our faith is more than feelings and God will still be working in you. This is the beauty of the Incarnation – God made man, coming into all our stresses, fears, problems – and yes, boredom. Know that even if an hour spent in Adoration is a continual returning to Him every few minutes when your mind wanders, you are still giving God the best gift you can – your time and company. 
- Ruth Baker

I pray that may God continue to send His angels to help me and guide me, and for Him to always hold my hand so He can easily pull me closer to Him. Amen. 



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