Memorial Day in the USA
At the start of every family car trip, my mother and father would intone, "Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary…" to entrust our safety to the Mother of God through praying the Memorare. With reference to the same prayer when gathering for various occasions, my father enjoyed saying, "Here we are, sinful and sorrowful."
Today is Memorial Day in the United States, a national holiday that invites us "to remember" those in our families and communities who have bravely served our country in time of war and strife, and who have died in this service. The very word "remember" means so much more than just a simple recalling of past events or people. The Latin root of the word is memor, which means being mindful or being aware. It means making real again in our hearts and minds an important experience or person.
I have always been drawn to good storytellers. A well written book, a classic movie, or a modern troubadour creates in very compelling ways an experience that draws me in because their story taps something profoundly important in me. It helps me remember…to make real again what I may have forgotten. The people of Israel were tremendous storytellers. Throughout the scriptures, we hear prophets and kings pleading with the people to remember how gracious God has been to them. They tell over and again the stories of God intervening in their lives. It is when they forget (unable to remember) that disaster descends upon them.
So this day, let us remember. Let us bring to heart and mind those people who have loved us and those events that have shaped us. Let us find a way to tell one particular story that makes very real again our experience of how much God loves us.
Robert Hotz is a consultant with American City Bureau, Inc. and is the Director of The Passion of Christ: The Love That Compels Campaign for Holy Cross Province.