On a different October 1st, in the year 1920, my father was born.
He has since passed away, but every October 1st I find myself doing a lot of reminiscing about him. I remember my father in many different ways.
I think of him as the father I knew, I imagine things about him as a young boy that I never knew, and at times I day dream about him as a soldier in the Army during World War II.
Our father never told us firsthand any of his Army stories, but growing up I remember a story my mother re-told that has always remained seated deep within my heart.
To make a long story even longer, I don’t know the date, time, location, or even half of the details. But, what I do know is that this is a true story of courage, devotion, and the power of prayer.
My mother would explain that when the war ended his troop was given the task of disposing live ammunition into the ocean. His sergeant, who knew our father was a practicing Catholic, having seen him attend mass every Sunday, asked him to volunteer alongside him to carry out this task.
My father agreed, and had told my mom that as he and his sergeant reached down to pick up the dynamite they began to recite “Our Father, Who art in heaven…”
I often wonder what the other soldiers were thinking as they watched their sergeant and my father carry out this task. How grateful they must have been not to worry about drawing the short straw.
As the two prayed over and again “Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name…” I like to imagine that their hands were as steady as their voices; and their voices as steady as their hands.
I don’t know how much ammunition they had to dispose of, how far they had to walk, if they ever almost stumbled, or how many “Our Father’s” they prayed, but by the power of prayer they both remained standing.
Presently, whenever I find myself faced with carrying out a task I’m dreading, asked to volunteer or do something I know I should, but don’t really want to, I think of my father and his sergeant, and how repetitive prayer kept them focused.
Our prayers when invoked with devotion are so very powerful. They can provide courage in times of weakness, deliver hope in desperate situations, and one prayer alone can make the world a better place.
Life is a battlefield. We need a strong prayer life to help us through our conflicts and struggles. Our prayers today influence our tomorrows.
Prayer has many side effects, some reactions are instantaneous; while some we won’t recognize till years later, and some we may never know until after our last breath here on earth has expired.
Today is October 1st, the day my father was born.
A day I will fondly remember him.
A day I’ll pray, “Our Father, Who art in heaven…”
One prayer has the power to revolutionize our world.