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Friday, July 31, 2015

Genesis, Chapter 31, Verse 53
May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us!” Jacob took the oath by the Fear of his father Isaac.

Laban and Jacob both take oaths here not to war with each other. Nahor[1] was the brother of Abraham and an idol worshiper who used several God’s as a type of insurance policy. Laban here is doing the same mentioning His gods but Jacob wanted to ensure Laban that there is only one God which he states was the Fear of Isaac.

Laban sets up a pillar as a border line for the two. War and the taking of life by each other have been with us since the dawn of time. Christ came to stop the cycle of revenge to change the law of an eye for an eye. Yet, there are times we must take up the sword and not stand by to let the evil defile the weak. We are not to tolerate bullies or murders. God would not be pleased with us to meekly watch another Rwanda in our time.

Today is my grandson’s 15th birthday; I cannot shape the future to protect him but I can help form his character to handle whatever the future brings by ensuring he has the Holy Fear of God. Today is also the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, who was a soldier and saint. Ignatius was the founder of the Jesuit order whom our Holy Father Francis was a member of before filling the shoes of Peter as head of the Roman Catholic Church.

The church always encourages us to be loyal and good citizens but citizens of heaven first. Today I would like to continue our book study of John McCain’s book Character is Destiny[2] and highlight the life of John’s example for good CITIZENSHIP:  Pat Tillman.

McCain says of Tillman:
He gave away the fortune and fame of a celebrity to serve his country in its time of need and leave us with a lesson of real heroism. He was quite a man, tough, honest, overachieving, and intense, colorful, daring. His parents were strict, but fun and encouraging. He was raised to be brave, work hard, not to brag but to believe in himself. He is remembered as the first one to help a friend in trouble, to stand up to a bully, to try to do the right thing. He thought for himself, and had, without doubt, the courage of his convictions. As a strong safety for the Cardinals, hard-hitting Pat Tillman broke the team record for tackles, 224, each one of them bone-rattling. The next year, the Super Bowl champions, the St. Louis Rams, offered Pat a nine-million-dollar contract. He turned them down. The Cardinals, who had given him a chance when others wouldn’t, could afford to pay him less than half that generous sum. But they had his loyalty. And loyalty is something Pat Tillman took very seriously. Yet, He knew Americans had much more important allegiances that we must live up to, and he intended to live up to his. Pat walked into his coach’s office just after he returned from his honeymoon, and told him that he was going to leave football, and his $3.9 million salary, and join the army. On April 29, 2004, Pat Tillman died as he had lived, bravely, in the service of his country. His unit was looking for Taliban and al Qaeda fighters. They were divided, and separated at a distance that made it hard for the Rangers in each squad to see one another. The sound of gunfire, real or mistaken, caused the Rangers to believe they were under attack. Someone in the squad behind Pat Tillman mistook Pat and his squad for the enemy, and began to fire at them. Pat was killed.

John McCain in reflecting on the citizenship of Tillman says:

Our country’s security doesn’t depend on the heroism of every citizen. Nor does our individual happiness depend upon proving ourselves heroic. But we all have to be worthy of the sacrifices made on our behalf. We have to love our freedom, not just for the ease or material benefits it provides, not just for the autonomy it guarantees us, but for the goodness it makes possible. We have to love it so much we won’t let it be constrained by fear or selfishness. We have to love it as much, even if not as heroically, as Pat Tillman loved it.

Soldiers go to war knowing they might lose everything. Steel your heart the same way as a soldier of Christ: going to war against the forces of darkness.

[2] McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York