Graced Infamy

by Fr. Jeff

Today is December 7, 2011, the anniversary of “a date which will live in infamy.” It’s been seventy years the attack on Pearl Harbor. Like many people my age, I often found it difficult to personally connect to this event from the past. As a student of history, I know that it was not so long ago. Nonetheless, the difficulty of reaching through the shadows of the past to grasp the reality of that day is not easy.

As a newly ordained priest, I am beginning to understand why You have sent me to this parish. We serve almost 1,100 registered families, plus the many others who are not counted in the ranks. Within our parish bounds we serve a school, a hospital, two assisted living homes, and the Southwest Louisiana War Veterans Home.

Today, on the 70th Anniversary of the Attack on Pearl Harbor, it was my turn to say Mass.

When I first came to Jennings on my last summer internship before ordination, I found the ministry at the VA to be extremely moving. There in the chapel the veterans gather each Wednesday to offer a rosary and participate in the sacrifice of the Mass.

In these few months of priestly service, I have often reflected on a striking realization–these men know the meaning of sacrifice. Several of the men sitting in the pews are veterans of the Second World War. They lost comrades and friends in the attacks that day. They were moved to offer their lives in service and sacrifice for our country. History has remembered them as the “Great Generation” precisely because of their sacrifice. Indeed, sacrifice is the true measure of greatness.

At the VA, when I look out from the altar, I see the face of sacrifice. In each face, there is a story. There is a story of someone who sacrificed everything to defend the world from tyranny.

As the priest, I stand before them in persona Christi capitis to offer sacrifice. I re-present to the Father the sacrifice of the Son. I also offer to God their own personal sacrifices.

I offer sacrifice for men who have sacrificed.

History remembers today as “a date which will live in infamy.” I will remember it as that and so much more. It has become for me a date which will live in

graced infamy.