Pray for Veterans; Pray for Peace

By Chris Sparks

Veteran’s Day means a lot to my family. Dad is a retired Coast Guard captain; his father was Air Force, as were my dad’s sister and her husband. My maternal grandfather was a mechanic for the Army Air Corps during World War II, and various of my mother’s brothers served with different branches of the military. The same goes for any number of my cousins.

So my family has a lot of veterans in its ranks. It’s meant a lot of moving over the years for different parts of the family, a lot of time spent away from the larger family, a lot of life lived as strangers in strange lands. It’s all good for the soul, I suppose, both for those serving in the military and for their family and friends who miss them, but it’s hard.

At the same time, family and friends make all the difference in the world to those serving in the armed forces. We may not always be able to be physically present for our loved ones in the military, but we can certainly be there in spirit. Saint Faustina had one particularly poignant passage for those of us who’ve had to bid farewell to military folks and await their return:

As God has made us sharers in His mercy and even more than that, dispensers of that mercy, we should therefore have great love for each soul, beginning with the elect and ending with the soul that does not yet know God. ... We will bear in mind that a soldier on the front line cannot hold out long without support from the rear forces that do not actually take part in the fighting but provide for all his needs; and that such is the role of prayer, and that therefore each one of us is to be distinguished by an apostolic spirit (Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, 539).

Those “rear forces” include more than just the rest of the military. Those “rear forces” include everyone at home, all of us waiting here in the homeland.


We who have received the gift of supernatural Catholic faith know that our call is to more than just material support for our troops. We are also called to pray for those who fight on our behalf, offering sacrifices and mortifications, and remember in a special way those who have been wounded and continue to suffer.


The civilians of the United States have done the work and made the sacrifices that allowed us to be the arsenal of democracy before, during World War II, and have continued to do so ever since, helping make the country ready to face whatever conflict or challenge came her way. We who have received the gift of supernatural Catholic faith know that our call is to more than just such material support for our troops, however. We are also called to pray for those who fight on our behalf, offering sacrifices and mortifications, and remember in a special way those who have been wounded and continue to suffer. We are summoned to obtain graces for all of them, especially through prayers such as the Rosary and the Divine Mercy devotions. We are meant to keep our troops in mind, never losing sight of all the veterans who’ve sacrificed so much for God and country, for the common good, for peace in the world, and also never losing sight of the fact that peace and well-being for us all depends, not just on force of arms, but also on moral character, on grace and natural virtue working together.

Our faith has a long tradition of warrior saints — St. Martin of Tours, whose feast we celebrate today; St. Louis IX; St. Joan of Arc; and others down through the centuries. But our faith also has a long tradition of military veterans laying aside the sword, setting down the use of force of arms in order to make way for the force of grace, for the power of prayer and the presence of God to remake the world.

So on this Veteran’s Day, let us honor those who’ve served and sacrificed so much for us all over the centuries. And let us also pray for peace devoutly, faithfully, trusting in the promises of Heaven given at Fatima that our prayers, especially the daily Rosary for peace, can make all the difference in the world.

Blessed Veterans Day. Saint Martin of Tours, St. Louis IX, and St. Joan of Arc, pray for us!

Chris Sparks serves as senior book editor for the Marian Fathers. He is the author of the Marian Press book How Can You Still Be Catholic? 50 Answers to a Good Question.

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