Friday, December 7, 2012

A Soldier Encounters an Angel! 8 December, 2012 Feast of The Immaculate Conception of Mary

A Soldier Encounters an Angel!

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This is the story about a young Marine named Michael who wrote a letter home to his mother while he was in hospital after he had been wounded in Korea in 1950.   A Navy Chaplain, named Father Walter Muldy apparently was given the letter, checked the facts and concluded what was in the letter was true.  A year later he read the letter in public for the first time, to a gathering of some 5,000 Marines at the Naval Base in San Diego. 

Here is the Letter:

Dear Mom,

  I wouldn't dare write this letter to anyone but you, because no one else would believe it.   Maybe, even you will find it hard, but I gotta' tell somebody.

First off, I am in a hospital.  Now, don't you worry, ya hear me.  Don't worry, I was wounded, but I'm okay.  You understand.   Okay.   The doctors say I will be up and around in a month.   But, that's not what I want to tell you.

Remember, when I joined the Marines last year.  Remember, when I left, how you told me to say a prayer to St. Michael every day.   You really didn't have to tell me that.   Ever since I can remember you always told me to pray to St. Michael the Archangel.   You even named me after him.   Well, I always have.

When I got to Korea, I prayed even harder.  Remember the prayer you taught me?   "Michael, Michael of the morning, fresh chord of Heaven adorning..."  You know the rest of it.   Well, I said it everyday, sometimes when I was marching or sometimes resting, but always before I went to sleep.   I even got some of the other fellas to say it.

Well, one day I was with an advance detail, way up forward of the front lines.  We were scouting for Commies.  I was plodding along in the bitter cold.  My breath was like cigar smoke.

I thought I knew every guy in the patrol, when alongside of me comes another Marine I'd never met before.  He was bigger than any other Marine I'd ever seen.  He must have been 6' 4'' and built in proportion.   It gave me a feeling of security to have such a buddy near.

Anyway, there we were, trudging along, the rest of the patrol spread out.    Just to start a conversation, I said, "Cold, ain't it."   And then I laughed.  Here I was with a good chance of getting killed any minute, and I am talking about the weather.

My companion seemed to understand.   I heard him laugh softly.   I looked at him.  "I've never seen you before.  I thought I knew every man in the outfit."

"I just joined at the last minute," he replied. "The name is Michael."

"Is that so," I said surprised. "That's my name , too."

"I know," he said, and then went on, "Michael, Michael of the morning..."

I was too amazed to say anything for a minute.   How did he know my name and a prayer you had taught me?   Then I smiled to myself, every guy in the outfit knew about me.  Hadn't I taught the prayer to anyone who would listen.   Why, now and then, they even referred to me as St. Michael.

Neither of us spoke for a time, and then he broke the silence.

"We are going to have some trouble up ahead."

He must have been in fine physical shape for he was breathing so lightly, I couldn't see his breath.   Mine poured out in great clouds.  There was no smile on his face now.

Trouble ahead, I thought to myself.   Well, with the Commies all around us, that is no great revelation.

Snow began to fall in great thick globs.   In a brief moment, the whole countryside was blotted out, and I was marching in a white fog of wet sticky particles.   My companion disappeared.

"Michael," I shouted in sudden alarm.

I felt his hand on my arm, his voice was rich and strong.  "This will stop shortly."

His prophecy proved to be correct.   In a few minutes the snow stopped as abruptly as it had begun.  The sun was a hard shining disc.   I looked back for the rest of the patrol.   There was no one in sight.   We lost them in that heavy fall of snow.   I looked ahead as we came over a little rise.

Mom, my heart stopped!  There were seven of them.  Seven Commies in their padded pants and jackets and their funny hats.   Only, there wasn't anything funny about them now.

Seven rifles were aimed at us.

"Down, Michael!" I screamed and hit the frozen earth.

I heard those rifles fire almost as one.   I heard the bullets.   There was Michael, still standing.  

Mom, those guys couldn't have missed, not at that range.   I expected to see him literally blown to bits.    But, there he stood, making no effort to fire himself.   He was paralyzed with fear.   It happens sometimes, Mom, even to the bravest.  He was like a bird fascinated by a snake.   At least that was what I thought then.

I jumped up to pull him down, and that's when I got mine.   I felt a sudden flame in my chest.   I often wondered what it felt to be hit.   Now I know.

I remember feeling strong arms about me, arms that laid me ever so gently on a pillow of snow.   I opened my eyes for one last look. I was dying.   Maybe I was even dead.

I remember thinking, 'Well, this isn't so bad.'

Maybe I was looking into the sun.  Maybe I was in shock, but it seemed I saw Michael standing erect again, only this time his face was shining with a terrible splendour.

As I say, maybe it was the sun in my eyes, but he seemed to change as I watched him.   He grew bigger, his arms stretched out wide.   Maybe it was the snow falling again, but there was a brightness around him, like the wings of an angel.

In his hand was a sword.   A sword that flashed with a million lights.

Well, that's the last thing I remember until the rest of the fellas came up and found me.    I don't know how much time had passed.   Now and then, I had but a moments respite from the pain and fever.   I remember telling them of the enemy just ahead.

"Where's Michael?" I asked.

I saw them look at one another.   "Where's who?" asked one.

"Michael. Michael, that big Marine I was walking with just before the snow squall hit us."

"Kid," said the Sergeant, "You weren't walking with anyone.   I had my eyes on you the whole time.  You were getting too far out.  I was just going to call you in, when you disappeared in the snow."

He looked at me, curiously.   "How did you do it, Kid?"

"How'd I do what?" I asked half angry, despite my wound.   "This Marine, named Michael and I were just ..."

"Son," said the Sergeant kindly, "I picked this outfit myself, and there just ain't another Michael in it.   You are the only Mike in it."

He paused for a minute.   "Just how did you do it, kid?   We heard shots.  There hasn't been a shot fired from your rifle.  And there isn't a bit of lead in them seven bodies over the hill there."

I didn't say anything.  What could I say.  I could only look open-mouthed with amazement.

It was then the Sergeant spoke again.   "Kid," he said gently, "Every one of those seven Commies over the hill there, was killed by a sword stroke."

That is all I can tell you, Mom.   As I say, it may have been the sun in my eyes.   It may have been the cold or the pain.   But that is what happened.

Love Michael


The Prayer

Michael, Michael of the morning,
Fresh chord of Heaven adorning,
Keep me safe today,
And in time of temptation,
Drive the devil away.




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Half a herring would cost half a penny.

I was an altar boy from 1961-63- and not a very good one at that. Once, after Benediction I had to remove the monstrance from the altar and I dropped it in front of a full church .....
Keep up the good work!