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Snipers – U.S.S. Anderson Sermon

February 25, 2012

Cover Illustration of U.S.S. Anderson Sermon

Sniper: A Sermon from a Roman Catholic Mass aboard the U.S.S. Anderson, February 6, 1944. 

Author unknown.

There’s an old fable we used to hear when we were youngsters.  A certain family of brothers was always fighting, then dad decided to teach them an object lesson.  He got 50 pieces of lathe and tied them up: then he gave the bundle to each of the sons and asked them to break it.  Of course, they. couldn’t do it.  Then he took the lathes out and gave each son one of them – and the sons broke them with ease.  The moral was that if they stuck together, nobody could break them up.

There’s another lesson in the fable.  Most men honestly try to do a square shooting job of life year after year they have the same defects they always had.  Could it be that most of us try to break off the defects all at once?  And when they’re bunched up that way, they’re too strong for us?  Bataan’s one-man army, Arthur Wermuth, was out on a mission one day quite far behind the enemy lines.  He’d finished his scouting mission and was ready to return to camp when – he saw a file of 8 Japs marching up a narrow trail.  8 to 1 were big odds even for Wermuth.  What did he do?  He moved noiselessly in back of them and one by one, cut them down.  If you could get them one by one, you could lick the whole Jap army.  Sniper tactics have their place in the spiritual war also.  Let’s say that Joe Blank has looked over his balance sheet at the end of the year —– and finds (among other things) that he’s been using pretty foul language.  With a good heart, he takes a resolution to do his best to clean his tongue during ‘44’.  He’s got a bad temper, and he drinks a bit too much, and he doesn’t pray as hard as he should.  He takes a resolution to clean up that situation, too.

But tackling the whole dirty mess is like charging a well dug – in enemy equipped with automatic weapons.  This calls for infiltration and sniper tactics.  So Joe picks out the one defect he really wants to work on – he doesn’t forget the others —– but he really concentrates on this one.  Every time he notices himself using foul language, he chalks up one.  He keeps score with a piece of paper.  He keeps this piece of paper in his right pocket and when he catches himself using foul language he transfers a piece to the left pocket.  He then counts them at the end of the day.

Totals for the 1st week – then totals for the 1st month.  And then you’d be surprised how those scores start coming down.  In 6 short months a man who is really sincere can completely wipe out a fault.  At the end of each day, when it comes time to score up the points, Joe looks up to the Lord – tells him he’s sorry for the times he missed – that tomorrow he’ll do better — that he needs plenty of help – and let me tell you brother, that’s one prayer the Lord really listens to.

From → History, World War II

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