This weekend in the United States we honor the men and women who sacrificed their lives in the defense of freedom around the world. Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first observed on May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. This was in the aftermath of the Civil War when many thousands lost their lives fighting for what they believed. It has taken a long time for our nation to heal from this devastating division and massive loss of life. Memorial Day is not about division. Rather, it is about reconciliation, coming together as a nation to honor those who gave their all for their country.
With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
Today, we are again a nation divided over the direction we should take. Some want us to stay locked down due to the coronavirus and others want individuals to decide which route is best for them and their families. People point to one political party or another as the source of our woes. The real source of division and strife in our nation is the evil one. He “comes only to steal and kill and destroy” (Jn 10:10).
This same enemy is out to destroy your home and family. He hates you and will do everything in his power to separate you from God. God is our source of life, joy, and happiness. Satan does not want you to be happy. If Satan can drive a wedge in your family, he destroys the image God uses in Scripture to describe the relationship of His Son Jesus Christ to His bride, the Church.
Many enter into marriage thinking that it will be like a relaxing day at the beach on Lake Michigan or the Jersey Shore. Marriage is like a day at the beach; but it is like D-Day at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Like the battle at Normandy, many marriages have fallen victim to the barrage of the enemy.
This weekend, thousands of families are divided by strife. Once again, slavery is the issue that has divided home and family. But it is slavery to selfish wants, desires, and sin. Many brave souls are fighting courageously to save their families from the destructive forces of the battle. We pause this weekend to remember those valiantly standing for what is right and good and just in the eyes of the Lord; may their sacrifice never be forgotten.
So, when strife and division occur in your marriage, stop and think about what is going on. You and your spouse are not enemies. It is Satan working to cause division and strife in your relationship. Thankfully, Jesus “came that [we] may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). He has defeated the enemy and by entrusting our marriages and families to Him, He will protect us.
As we pray for the fallen heroes of our nation this weekend, we also remember those brave souls in the battle for the survival of their marriages and families. During this coronavirus pandemic, tension is running high in our families. Together, in union with Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, the enemy will be defeated, and your home and family will be all that God intends for it to be.
We bless your name, O Lord,
for sending your own incarnate Son,
to become part of a family,
so that, as he lived its life,
he would experience its worries and its joys.
We ask you, Lord,
to protect and watch over this family,
so that in the strength of your grace
its members may enjoy prosperity,
possess the priceless gift of your peace,
and, as the Church alive in the home,
bear witness in this world to your glory.
We ask this thought Christ our Lord.
Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers