Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Timely Words

"My understanding, my feeling, about the importance of the Chaplains Corps is so great that it would be difficult indeed to think of the most important of all of those things for a two or three-minute chat with you this morning. I would like to bring my thoughts right down to the present. "We know that America now must remain strong, by which I mean militarily strong, to sustain in the world the concepts on which our civilization is based, the ideas of the dignity of man, of a government based on religious faith. So it seems to me, as long as we have to do that, as long as our young men must respond cheerfully to their military duty, whether it be in the Reserves or the Regulars, and must do it as a national obligation, your task is especially important. It is to bring home to them, to their fathers and mothers, and indeed to the whole world, how much this is truly a crusade, a crusade for decency, not carried out on a militant basis but on one where we stand firmly behind the great concepts found, indeed, in every great religion but more especially, I suppose, in the Sermon on the Mount, by which this Nation has lived and which underlies its founding. "You bring to the men actually in the Service a sense of doing a wonderful thing-that their sacrifices, the performance of their duty, are important. You give them that sense of feeling, because you bring to them the certainty and the constant reminder that man is a spiritual being. You comfort the United States as it realizes that it has a long period of sacrifice ahead of it and giving of its sons and of its treasure and of its might, doing something that does not of itself advance the cause of human progress and human happiness, defending what we have. "This is a very difficult task, to take all of these complex ideas, these purposes, and put them before all of us in their proper perspective. And I can't conceive of anybody better-more equipped-to do this than the Chaplains Corps, both in its Reserves and active formations, because this is indeed a time of trial, when it tries men's spirits, not merely their pocketbooks. "So I think the one thing I would like to say above all else to you this morning is just simply: Thank you, thank you very much-personally, officially and every way I can speak. Good morning." An Excerpt of Remarks By President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the Members of the Military Chaplains National Association May 9, 1956

If you're anything like me, before you got the the end you probably thought this was a speech given as of late. Not surprising, is it, that true words are timeless? They never lose their season and are applicable over and over again throughout time...much like the Bible. My husband shared this with me and I had to post it because it is such an elequently spoken piece of encouragement to our Chaplains and the core of what they do. My favorite line in this piece is :

"You give them that sense of feeling, because you bring to them the certainty and the constant reminder that man is a spiritual being."

This is one of the best ways to briefly state what it is that our Chaplains do. Their presence is a constant reminder to our soldiers that man is a spiritual being. That thought undoubtedly inspires a myriad of other thoughts which put the thinker on the road to deeper questions like "Why do I exist?" and "Is there a God?". It is this type of soul-searching quest that is the heartbeat of the Chaplaincy ministry: revealing hope to the men & women of the U.S. military and enabling them to come to God just as they are, where they are.

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