Thursday, November 10, 2005

Happy Birthday to the Marine Corps

Today is the 230th anniversary of the United States Marine Corps. November is also a month that we Catholics pray for the souls of the dead. (Not that we don't the rest of the year, of course, it's just focused on more in November, which begins with All Saints Day and All Souls Day.) Combining the two observances, this month I will remember to pray for my favorite departed Marine, C****** ****. Although he had had to leave the Corps to attend to family responsibilities, he considered himself a Marine to the end; once a Marine, always a Marine, some people say. C was a good man and a father figure as well as a friend to my husband and me. We still miss him.

C had a sort of reversion or resurgence of faith (he was a Baptist) some months before he died. I was at the height of my anti-Christian feeling back then, and his upsurge of faith disgusted me; now I'm glad he had it. My conversion experience began the next year, and a ways into it I wondered if C were praying for me. There's no way of knowing now, but presumably one day I will. Meanwhile I can return the possible favor.

Anyone else who's been close to a Marine who has died might want to do the same today. Or you could pray for the ones who are serving our country now. (This includes one of my cousins.) Even if you don't think prayer can help, it certainly can't hurt. And if you don't think your prayers will help, you can do as I did on 9/11 and ask someone else to do the praying for you; we Catholics believe the pool of people you can ask includes both the people alive in this world and those alive in the next.

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