‘Semper Fidelis’: Always Faithful

By Father Dennis Meinen
View from the Scooter

The Marine Corps Motto is “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful). Marines have lived up to this motto ever since Semper Fidelis was adopted about 1883 as the motto of the Corps.

Recently I celebrated a funeral Mass for an 89-year-old resident who served as a Marine Corps soldier in Korea from 1952-1954, being awarded four Purple Hearts, awarded to members of the armed forces of the United States who are wounded by an instrument of war in the hands of the enemy, and one Bronze Star Medal, a decoration awarded to members of the Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, heroic service, meritorious achievement or meritorious service in a combat zone.

Semper Fidelis certainly described Don’s life as a soldier, and the Scripture readings that day reinforced the view that values demand sacrifice. When I looked at the readings, The Beatitudes jumped off the page as the perfect passage to describe Don. I think that is because they so eloquently capture who Don was throughout his life.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus sits with his friends and teaches us the real meaning of life and what has the highest value. Blessedness is not about power or wealth or possessions. According to Jesus, blessedness is about an attitude of gentleness, compassion and mercy. Don lived the beatitudes with every breath he took. As in life, so even in death, he teaches us about the sacredness of family life, long and stable marriages (he and his wife Ona were married for 60 years) and the gift of his Catholic faith.

We all know the truth that life is all too fragile. Moreover, we are in this world a short time, and it is up to us to use it well. Jesus says, “Blessed are you who mourn, for you shall be comforted.”

Let us also comfort one another with the gift of the Eucharist. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we are present with Jesus once again. But, not only with Jesus but also with all the holy ones like Don who have come before us in faith. When we miss Don’s presence, we can come to church and be with all those who have professed their faith in Christ Jesus and in the hope of the resurrection.

Let us comfort one another in the faith of the risen Jesus, so to find the God of mercy, gentleness and peace that Don put his hope and trust.

Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix for Siouxland, and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.


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