Here is something that I had readied for posting and then, given recent events, the draft scrolled away from my view.
Take a moment to check out this piece at the Navy Times about the posthumous awarding of the Navy Cross (the Navy’s 2nd highest decoration for valor) to a Catholic chaplain of WWII, Lt. Thomas Conway, the last chaplain to die that war.
The Navy Times piece will put it better than my own summary. Suffice to say that his courage as he and hundreds of others were stranded in literally “shark infested waters” should serve as an example to me and to me brother priests in every sort of activity.
We are in our own kind of “shark infested waters” right now but we have to, all of us, persevere for the sake of those who depend on us. Our Eternal Father, who is strong to save, will give us all the graces we need if we stay true.
As I’ve been repeating to a lot of frustrated, down-hearted people who write to me these days, of all the universes God could have created, He created this one, into which He called us into existence at exactly the right point in time and with exactly the right set of tools to carry out our little piece of His overarching, divine Plan.
If we dedicate ourselves to our state in life, as it is hic et nunc, here and now, God will give us all the actual graces we need to fulfill our part in His economy of salvation.
A war-fighter in dire harm’s way is in the safest place spiritually he can be if he acts out of duty and love of God, family and country. So too the priest. Even if the priest is trodden on by his more powerful clerical brethren and unfairly attacked by world-mired laity, he is in the safest spiritual place he can be if he acts out of love of God, Church and patria.
Perhaps this is why old soldiers and old priests tend to be great friends.
It is an honor to have been called by God to live in these difficult times. Fidelity and the pursuit of His will bring greater graces than if our paths were smooth.
Fr. Conway, thank you for your example and rest in peace.