Friday, January 18, 2013

The Catholic Defender: PSALMS 23

Early in my first deployment with the First CAV Division, 2-5 CAV, serving in Iraq between October 2006 through January 2008, I went out on many missions.

As the Medical Platoon Sergeant, I was never one who sat behind a desk, I was out checking on my troops and supporting missions. I would be responsible for setting up all the Medical support for all our Unit's missions in our Theater of Operations.

This included all the secondary jobs I was responsible for such as Field Sanitation, the care of prisoners, JSS Medical Support, major offensives against the enemy, and Safety concerns.

There were many other odd jobs that I was responsible, but these were among the most important in my day to day operations. Anytime I would go outside the wire, I always would sing Psalms 23 as I remembered my Son's Nathan and Jason arranging it in our band "Final Hour".

That tune would come to mind and I would sing it as I prepared. One of the great blessings I was to learn was that some of the Platoons would stop and pray Psalms 23 before they would go out on missions.

That was awesome. They would go through their pre-combat checks and gather around for the recitation of Psalms 23. The Psalms states:

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside still waters;
He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths For His Name's sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
For you are with me;
Your rod and Your staff - they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, You anoint my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life. And I shall dwell in the house of the Lord My whole life long.
[Psalm 23:1-6; NRSV]

I would return to Iraq for a second deployment with the 2-5 CAV between February 2009 through January 2010. Through these two deployments, I was able to help many Soldiers and Civilian Contractors come to the Lord, Jesus Christ through His holy Catholic Church.

When I had the opportunity, I was very much involved leading bible studies, the Rosary Patrol, and RCIA. I was stationed at Sadr City where much of the war effort was concentrated.

We were inside walls right inside the City. Kind of felt like being in the Alamo, especially when a threat would come our way. We would not have a Priest but once a month, and that was more than a lot of our JSS sites out in the Theatre of Operations.

We had our Battalion, Brigade spread out all over and it was imposible for a priest to hit all these locations. I was given the great blessing from the Archdiocese of the Military to conduct Catholic Lay Services (Liturgy of the Word)in the absence of a Catholic Priest.

This was important because I was able to touch base and support our Catholic Soldiers. Promoting the Rosary and offering it was important for many as well as Psalms 23. It was a release, a chance to put behind the war for a little while, to give them strength and encouragment. The following is a live version of the song "Psalms 23" performed by two of my Son's Nathan and Jason.

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