Sunday, September 23, 2007
Last week SGT Tremain and I escorted Chaplain "Father" Barkemeyer and his assistant to provide Mass to our Soldiers out at the Combat Outposts. This is our second battlefield circulation together. As I mentioned below we have a few things in common, and this is not the first time our paths have crossed in the chaplaincy--so we have some history as well. I look forward to John's visits. Again, as a Catholic Priest, John can do for our Catholic Soldiers what I cannot. I attend Mass every week; last week's battlefield coverage gave me four opportunities. (I wish I could say his homily on the lost sheep and the lost coin from Luke 15 got better each time I heard it.) At each stop Soldiers expressed their appreciation. One shared with me that attending Mass gave him the sense that he was back home with his mother, if only for a few short minutes. Another Soldier said, "There, now maybe that will get my wife off my back." When I asked him if his wife cramped his style, he smiled and answered, "No, if I have any style at all it's because of her."
Perhaps this is too public a place for me to share this, but attending Mass with my Catholic brothers is a sacred experience. Of course I am not invited to the table, nor would the LDS Church leadership allow me to participate. But in spite of the boundaries we all respect, I experience a sense of belonging. My familiarity with the structure, content, and nature of this sacrament causes me to consider my own covenants, and what they mean to me.