'Hail, the Victorious Dead!'

By Chris Sparks

Our society discourages remembrance.

We are bombarded by so much information, so much media, so many different forms of video, or text, or sound, or whatever the latest tech craze makes possible that it's hard enough to take in what's new, let alone recall what's happened in the past.

And yet Memorial Day, celebrated this year on May 28, calls us to pause and remember.

We are meant to remember those who fell in battle in defense of the Constitution, of the principles on which our great nation was founded. We are meant to make the trip to the services in the churches and cemeteries, and to visit the graves of the fallen soldiers, sailors, and aviators.

We are supposed to pause, and pray, and remember.

We know that everyone is loved and remembered by God, of course, and that we shall all meet again on Judgment Day. We know that no one is forgotten forever, for we are held in existence by the love and the remembering of God. If ever He were to forget anyone, they would truly cease to exist. But we are destined to exist forever, either in eternal communion with Him or in isolation from Him in hell.

God never forgets, or ceases to love us into being.

But we also are to remember. We are bound to honor our fathers and our mothers - that is, to remember all those who have come before us, and without whom, we would not exist, or our country exist, or our family, or our Church. We are bound to honor those who have come before, but also to pray for them, to make reparation for their sins with our intercession and the grace we may mediate as members of the Body of Christ.

By the Providence of God, presidents past and present have set beginning of the time for prayer at 11 a.m. local time, and the national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. local time across the country - that is, the national moment of remembrance commences at the start of the Hour of Great Mercy. Jesus told St. Faustina:


At three o'clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion (Diary, 1320).

We are promised tremendous graces at the Hour of Great Mercy! On Memorial Day, let's not neglect to gather those graces on behalf of the fallen veterans of our nation's conflicts. Let us remember the Lord's Passion, especially through the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, or the Stations of the Cross on 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, offering our prayers on behalf of those who died in defense of the Constitution and the nation that has arisen from that document.

This Memorial Day, pray for the dead. The Protestants will mostly not remember to do it; the secular modernists will not believe it necessary.

Pray for the dead, all you who serve Jesus, the Divine Mercy, and Our Lady, Star of the Sea. Remember with love and gratitude all those who have died in the service of our country, in defense of the highest ideals of human freedom and rights. Remember our fallen military men and women, and seek the grace needed to expiate any punishment they had merited in their lifetimes.

For it is not a Catholic act to see only the virtue or solely the sins of those who have gone before us. We are not to make idols of our soldiers or of the country whom they served, but rather, with filial love and affection, to intercede for the men and women of days gone by, honoring their sacrifices, making reparation for their sins, and serving our country as good citizens should, with both obedience and correction.

We are not to be Marxists with their rejection of all the past as one unending history of oppression. Nor are we to be nationalist reactionaries, simply defending our country right or wrong.

We are Catholics. We are regularly called to the examination of conscience, to confession of sins, and to honor our parents, those past generations who came before us. We are to be clear-eyed about both the sins and the virtues of the past. One does not cancel out the other, for only the Blood of the Lamb can wash away sin. And for love of God and country, let us expiate the punishment due for the sins of the past. Pray for the dead, and for peace, in obedience to both popes and presidents.

On Memorial Day, remember. Grieve. Forgive. And intercede.

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