December 15: Our Lady of the Armed Forces
“The news reports tell of the bitter cold of the “uplands” of the East and elsewhere where the “boys” in the service of country are fighting for love of country and fatherland. There are days and nights spent longing for warmth and peace; and so many a mother who prays to Mary for her son.”
“My boy, whom I zealously guarded from the little hurts and pains of life, lies down tonight in the dirt, or perhaps in the dirty straw of some deserted barn, or even under the icy stars without even that much shelter. Perhaps he crouches somewhere on the rough floor of a moving truck, or plods wearily through the endless snow. Mary! My soul longs for peace for him…he is so young!”
And comfortingly Mary whispers into the mother’s heart: “The night was cold at Bethlehem…the stable rough and dirty…the town filled with strangers and hostility. There, in lowliness and suffering my Son was born. There on the straw, in the cold He lay that night long ago. I had good things planned for my Son – a tiny bed prepared at Nazareth…a warm safe home…little garments made during the long days of waiting. But it was at Bethlehem…the night was cold…the straw rough. And, He was just a Babe.”
Prayerfully the soldier’s mother continues: “He’s so young to be away from me – from home and family – just a boy, really, with the dreams and hopes of a boy. A tow-headed, bright-eyed football captain last year – a serious, somber soldier now. My arms are empty, my heart is so heavy, and he is so young!”
“My Son was young once, too, playing on the streets of Nazareth at twelve, the dusty hills – helping Joseph in the carpenter shop…brightening the small home with His boyish ways. My heart was so heavy during the long search through the unfamiliar streets of Jerusalem; and how my empty arms ached when I found Him among the doctors in the Temple – a boy no longer but a Man about His Father’s business.”
“My son fights among an alien land far from all he knows and loves. He is
whipped into near submission – my son who was so tall and straight and proud.
He lies in the dust trampled by an enemy’s boot – my son who never hated
anyone, who loved life and living. His wounds are deep and painful and he is so
“My Son walked among a hostile people in Jerusalem and along the Jordan. He was scourged at the pillar – He Who was also tall and straight and noble. He fell in the dust on the road to Calvary – He Who ministered to all and rejected none. His Hands and His Feet were pierced through with nails and His side was opened by the spear of the soldier. And – He was God!”
“My heart is heavy for my son who walks alone and suffers this night – for he is so young!”
“My Son Who knew a soldier’s life, and fears, and pains, shall walk with
your son tonight and heal his wounds of body and heart – for he is God. Your
dear, good son carries with him all the time my sign of victory – the Rosary –
and he prays my favorite prayer daily and even oftener, when he can; the scent
of his prayers delights me; I shall never forsake your son as long as he asks
me to help him. Do you not know, I AM OUR LADY OF THE ARMED FORCES all over the
*from The Woman in Orbit
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