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12.09.2004    |    Humbling
Marine Lance Cpl. June N. Ramos, a Filipino, has one of the most important jobs on earth. And, no, that's not just his special place as a Marine grunt, which is itself a high calling. The good corporal delivers the eucharist to his fellow marines in the field in Iraq. The story in yesterday's Washington Post describes, without apparent spin, how Cpl. Ramos serves as God's messenger to some of our troops in Iraq:
When a Marine dies in combat, they say he's bought the farm. Ramos did not buy the farm, just a ride home. But when he was in the field hospital in Baghdad, Ramos said, he knew he had to return to the field. He had work to do. He is the man who administers Communion to Roman Catholic Marines on the front, and his job was not done yet.

"This is my calling, the reason why I am here," said Ramos, a slight man with an impish grin. He was bundled up for the cold, his green, Marine-issued scarf pulled tight over his head to cover his ears. He also wore a black stocking cap, like those worn by the rest of his platoon buddies in 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

He keeps surviving, Ramos said. He has been in mortar attacks, mine explosions, the roadside bomb attack that cut his neck. In any other place, he might feel invisible, but Ramos knows that danger does not start and stop. He has not yet made it out.

"God is always with me," Ramos said. "He's always there watching."
It's been said there are no atheists in foxholes. I've had more than one veteran of combat tell me, many more in fact, that not only are there no atheists, but there are no denominations. A Baptist will welcome the ministrations of a Catholic chaplain, and vice versa. Cpl. Ramos is, in a sense, bringing God to the battlefield. Whether it is the literal body and blood of Christ, as (some) Catholics believe, or merely a remembrance of Jesus' last supper with his disciples, I can't think of a more important job.

The Post story notes that after his tour in the Corps, Cpl. Ramos intends to continue his seminary studies at Abiquiu, New Mexico, a Benedictine monastary (The Monastery of Christ in the Desert). This man's faith is humbling. He walks with God, and, though he's been injured and almost killed, knows he will be protected. How many of us have this kind of faith?

Thank God that June Ramos does. Vas con el Señor, Corporal.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.