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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Empty Sky Revisited

A recycled post from September 11, 2006, which can be seen HERE

Yet another mediation on 9/11.

From the Office of Readings for September 11, 2006:

Our God comes, He keeps silence no longer

Before Him fire devours,

Around Him tempest rages.

He calls on the heavens and the earth

To witness His judgment of His people.

Based on Psalm 50: 1-4

In 2001, we were living northwest of San Antonio, down a dead end country road at the foothills of the Hill Country. It was quiet, peaceful; no one came down the road without a reason. The sound of Interstate 10 was muted by several ranges of hills, spread out over three miles or more of countryside. Only the sound of aircraft broke the silence: commercial airliners headed into San Antonio’s airport, small private aircraft from a local grass strip or the C-5’s from Kelly Air Force Base. Even this noise stopped in the days following September 11, 2001, when all aircraft were grounded on President Bush’s order. The silence was a bit eerie, and since I am always searching the skies for aircraft out of habit, it was unnerving. The first aircraft I saw, several days later, a lone F-16, was a welcome sight for me.

September 11 was a bittersweet day for us; sweet because we were bringing home our newest Noisykid addition born on September 9. Bitter, because we had planned on my wife taking the whole day to rest and relax in a hospital room and then coming home shortly before midnight. We had gotten the mother of my children an executive suite, complete with an on-site chef, a private nurse, and a room bigger than our first apartment for her post-partum stay in the hospital. The plan was to take full advantage of this luxury before returning to our home. This plan was ruined by our pediatrician, who told my wife about what was happening in New York and the rest of the United States. Her nurses had decided to let her rest and not be bothered for the moment. They probably figured I would tell her later, so they were almost as upset as my wife was when our pediatrician told her.

We are still reeling from the effects of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I think for many people, airline travel ceased to be a quick and relatively easy way to travel. The idea that a passenger airplane could be converted into a guided missile, with no concern for the crew or passengers, is something that will always give one second thoughts about flying. Many people saw for the first time how much the United States is hated: the terrorists were determined to kill themselves for a chance to kill Americans. I also know the economy took a huge hit, affecting how people spend and invest their money.

However, I am not here to write about economics. I believe the one thing that was not done sufficiently after 9.11 was to evaluate how our country has strayed from the path of righteousness upon which it was founded. The newspaper is full of examples of people who are committing all sorts of crimes that cry out to God for justice. In addition, our government is slowly changing the definition of the family and reducing the right to life at both ends of the spectrum, to name two examples. All of this is steering us down the wrong path.

It reminds me of an incident that happened in June 1987. At that time, I was a newly commissioned Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, and we were getting a bunch of lectures on how to eat, sleep, walk, and talk as an Air Force officer (most of it wore off). One afternoon, we were informed that our next speaker would be a retired General who had served not only in the Air Force, but also in the Space Program. We were told to be on our best behavior. The lecture was quite enjoyable, as the General told of his various adventures in the Air Force as well as his journey to the Moon.

As he was wrapping up his presentation, he became serious. He reminded us that the Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase ‘under God,’ and that our coins have the phrase ‘In God We Trust’ on them. He pointed out to us that the phrase was worthless if we did not live our lives under God and putting our trust in God. He also said that a country that did not live under God would one day fall, and those who serve in its Armed Forces would likely be the ones to suffer first. We were warned.

I wish I had remembered his name.

I think 9.11.2001 was another warning for what will happen if we do not work to make this country more pleasing to God. Looking back on the past 19 years since I heard that General’s warning, I would say I have failed, more by omission than by commission, to do my best to make this country a nation that is truly ‘under God.’ There are some things we have done.

Shortly after George W. Bush was elected president, we began praying daily for world peace and for the culture of life to prevail in the United States and in the World. We made a pledge to pray for these things as long as Bush is in office, but we plan to continue it. Every Monday, we pray for missionaries and for the conversion of the Moslems, the Jews, and the Mormons in particular. This is the best thing we can do to not only save our own country, but the world as well. The answers to our prayers are known to God alone.

Please pray for the repose of the souls of those killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, especially those who died without receiving the Sacrament of Penance.

Please also pray for our dead soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have paid the ultimate price for our country, especially those who died without receiving the Sacrament of Penance.

Please pray for those who currently serve in the Armed Forces. It is sobering to me to know that the physicians I trained while on active duty are those who now are serving our country in the Middle East.

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Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation
Now restored with the help of some cement!

Prayer to Our Lady of the Mysterious Decapitation

Mary my mother, take my hand today, and all days.
Lead me away from all occasions of sin.
Guide me in fulfilling your last words in the Gospel,
"Do whatever He tells you."

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