As we again nationally celebrate Veterans Day, let us keep in mind all those, including our family members, residents, and employees, who have given service to our country, both past and present.  

Prayer for Troops and Veterans

Lord God, Almighty Father, creator of humankind and author of peace,

as we are ever mindful of the cost paid for the liberty we possess,

we ask you to bless the members of our armed forces, both past and

present.  Give them courage, hope and strength.  May they ever

experience your firm support, gentle love, and compassionate healing.

Be their power and protector, leading them from darkness to light.

To you be glory, honor and praise, now and forever. Amen.

– United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

War raises ire, pro and con. But the prayer before us here is not about war.  It’s about people. Let me tell you a true story, slightly revised to protect the privacy of participants. Some years ago, I was called for jury duty. I went grudgingly, grousing all the way to town about the inconvenience. During the juror selection process, the judge invited anyone who might have reason to be excused to come forward.

A young man walked up, limping slightly. I had noticed him when he had asked for a chair at the back of the room so he could have leg room that the fixed seating did not provide. He was not asking to be excused, he said, but he needed the selectors to know that he had some short-term memory issues that might hinder him in remembering testimonies from one day to the next.  He might need help with that. He had been in the service, he explained, and had received a head injury. If the selectors had no problem with someone giving him reminders from time to time, he would be glad to serve on the jury. The judge very courteously excused him.

As he walked back toward the exit, still limping slightly, dead silence fell. And, one by one, as he passed—though he was concentrating on his steps and did not see it—every person stood. No doubt I was not the only one who thought that we had gathered there that day, mostly unwillingly, because, whatever the charge, the accused had the right to trial by a jury of peers. And we had all come without hindrance to honor that right because this young man—and all the men and women with whom he had served, and all those still serving—had, without trumpet flourish or acclaim, made it possible. It was a sobering moment of gratitude as we saw in the courtroom that day a hint of what that could cost.

I remember this scene every November on Veterans Day. This year and every year, for all who have served or are serving in the military—our loved ones, family member, friends, neighbors, and coworkers, you who are reading these pages among them—let us bow our heads and pray:

Lord God, Almighty Father,

…ever mindful of the cost paid for the liberty we possess,

We ask you to bless the members of our armed forces.

Give them courage, hope and strength…

Be their power and protector, leading them from darkness to light.

– Sr. Genevieve Glen, OSB