Chaplain Major John Morris offers his rare and challenging insights into the spiritual aspect of our current conflicts, and the spiritual imprint that war always leaves on soldiers, citizens, and a nation.
Let's talk about love your enemies. That's sorely tested in combat. I think, in a very chilling way, I came to the abyss of hate in Fallujah. The body parts of four Americans charred and hanging off a bridge over the Euphrates brought me to a point where I could truly sense myself going down a vortex of hate, that in a city, people were harbored who were that debased. And so at that point, I felt that I was crossing a line to say, "Yes, these people's time on the planet is over, they need to leave. There's no second chance, there's no other form of justice. They have forfeited all rights to humanness." That was a chilling, chilling moment for me because I knew I was entering a new territory. And once you cross this line, there's no coming back.
When do I become like them? I found myself fueled with a sense of hatred that I could easily have said, you know, "Hey, I'm God's wrath. We are God's wrath. This needs to be taken care of." The only thing that pulled me back from that was the power of the Holy Spirit, all the Christian disciplines, and my sense of understanding that, wait a minute, as much as I abhor everything that's done, and as much as I believe what was done was evil, and that if these people don't come out and surrender, there's only one alternative, that is to go in and kill them or apprehend them. I knew I could not cross that line and say, "OK, God's on my side, and here we go." No, this is chaos, this is human fallenness to the max, and we're using the most brutal tool of human society, the military, to solve a very, very terrible problem. And this isn't God here, this is fallen human beings. So God help me and have mercy on me. I'm a part of something like this, and I prayed that it wouldn't be, but here we are. Save me from becoming a debased, immoral human being. And save my soldiers as well.
Albany Catholic hopes you have a Memorial Day to remember, and we believe that Major Morris' words will help you do that, here.