Faces from Today in the Past and Freedom

My Son as the Wonderboy Lieutenant Colonel

My Son as the Wonderboy Lieutenant Colonel

    As a college student I really enjoyed my history assignments.  Being a photo guy, I of course dug deeply into my pictures, maps and diagrams.  In my senior year at West Point I watched my company pass in review on parade on my first personally acquired camera.  When I printed the photos I found myself looking at a present day image, which could be from the relatively distant past if were not for some modern building in the background. 

   I was soon looking at every historical image differently.  Every image of a battle, congressional debate, city street, factory or farm had me replacing the face of yesteryear with one of ours.  We could be those past people,  if it was not for an accident of historical timing.  This made me appreciate photography even more, and my own place in history.

    The event also made me remember a quote I heard from President Ronald Reagan a few years earlier:

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

(From the Quotations Page)

    While our DNA will allow us to recreate moments as actors from the past with ease, certain important lessons such as the American concept of freedom only will be passed on and lived with through deliberate efforts.  Putting myself into the shoes of soldiers, statesmen, explorers, industrialists, farmers and my forefathers getting off the boat only made this lesson easier to understand.



Earned not Given: Lesson for the 4th

    This year the capstone challenge of my boys Blue Knight year was the annual board of review at Regina Caeli Academy.  (The full story of the event itself is here BOARD OF REVIEW) For the weeks leading up to the board I reinforced to the boys and their parents their awards were earned not given by saying:”When your friends ask about your awards you will be able to tell them in Blue Knights everything is earned not given.”

    This is a hard task we all must learn, and one fathers must teach repeatedly.  In my case I had one boy who was able to discuss each question for five minutes each in great detail.  The other son took a pretest in the kitchen as we cleaned up from dinner, and smugly thought his 80% was enough to stop studying….ah not in my house.  After a very serious discussion on how the name Wojtkun was the only thing I would ever give him, and how he was not going to drag it into the gutter he go serious.  So he was on cloud nine when he scored a 100% at the review, and earned the rank of Sergeant for next year the next week.

    So what does this have to do with the 4th of July?  Well everything.

    In 1776 our Continental Army was in the field for over a year, dying for American Independence. The men in Philadelphia used the words of Thomas Jefferson to define what we stood for as a nation, knowing by doing so they signed their own death warrant.  After years of fighting (remember the war went on past Yorktown in 1781) the Founders created a document forming a government which used checks and balances to keep the worst human failings in check.  

    Despite all the Founders did did generations ago, Benjamin Franklin responded prophetically to the question: “Well, Doctor, what have we got-a Republic or a Monarchy?” with “A Republic if you can keep it.”  Dr. Franklin knew human nature, and knew the lessons in his generation could not be passed on through our DNA.  A republic could only be passed on through teaching each generation the cold hard facts of our history, human nature, and the balancing grace of applying natural law.  Even with lessons learned, each generation must still earn a republic through application of those lessons to the events of their times.

    In today’s world we have a tendency to throw away the ideas of the past, thinking modern science can solve all problems.  The news reports today show the natural tendency for people to crave the warm security blanket of authoritarian rulers (if they agree with us).  These trends are disturbing, for they show people discarding the philosophical lessons (probably never learned and many times purposefully corrupted) of the founders.

   So today we must again decide if we want to continue earning our Republic, or throw it away and again come under authoritarian rule…from inside or outside our nation.  The threat is real, and only the willfully ignorant can’t see it.  

   Time to go pray for our nation and its people…that the light of freedom ignite in our souls once more.


Fleet Feet Bubbles

    The magic of bubble or two in the life of a child is indescribable.  A bubble is a one of a kind creation with a fleeting lease on life which can captivate a child’s imagination.  One set of magic bubbles like this will propel a child to make many more bubbles to see it if the magic will come again.  I guess it would not hurt us adults to have our own fleet feet bubbles to call our own!



Some 54 Day Spiritual Boot Camp Thoughts

    For the previous 54 days I participated in two 27 day novenas of petition and thanksgiving centered around the concept of a spiritual boot camp for a recruit to the Church Militant.  A good friend of mine joined me on this journey, so I had a combat buddy the whole way.  The format came from the website called the Roman Catholic Man (www.romancatholicman.com).  Each day we received a meditation thought, lesson, wisdom from saints and the church fathers.  You also dedicated yourself to a rosary each night with petitions of your choosing.  

    One of my petitions was for discernment on how I was to serve the Lord and my family better in the years to come.  Saturday was my final day in this journey, and as we attended the baptism of a wonderful baby boy this photo came together before me.  It symbolized many of the lessons the Lord brought to my attention int he last 54 days.

    Here you see parents humbly presenting their child to the Lord, and pledging obedience to the church’s teaching as they raise their child to trust the Lord.  The Child’s grandfather is the Deacon conducting the baptism.  He calls all of his children to a life embracing the supernatural grace of God though example and deed.  He does this as a patriarch of his family, and as an ordained clergy for the Body of Christ.

    In this photo you see many members of our Regina Caeli Academy family, and other families joyfully embracing a culture of life and sacrifice.  As my altar serving son said later, it was the nosiest mass he ever served at.  As a result of the noise, the presiding priest only got a bigger smile because it was a sign of parents continuing to present their children to the Lord as they grew. He knows this pleases God greatly.

    The joyful presence of children lining the isles reminded me I am to be like a child in my faith.  I must be inquisitive and seeking truth with all my heart.  The presence of my child reminded me I also have a calling as a younger patriarch to follow the lead of wiser Catholic men around me.  If you want be the best you can be, you must associate and learn from the best on the field of battle yourself.  It is the only way to care for your wife and children properly.

    Finally, I realized even if I cannot do anything physically to help people I must continue to pray.  In this photo are many who’s names line my prayerbook.  I do not know them well, and some did not know I was praying for resolutions to problems they mentioned when we met.  I pray because right now, for most of them, it is all the charity I can provide.

    The day and setting for the sacrament were beautiful beyond my ability to describe it in words.  I knew by the high stratocumulus clouds change was just over the horizon.   By the next morning the temperature would drop forty degrees to a low of 36 degrees.  This symbolized how the Church Militant needs more recruits to prepare for the long campaigns of spiritual warfare to come.  So the final part of my discernment was the knowledge I am to help sound the call for new warriors to join our cause.  For men are meant to be courageous, not cowering from fear and despair.

  The journey to these discernments was long and productive…but only the beginning of a new a more challenging chapter as I seek again to capture a glimpse of his glory and share it with you..