Prayers of Remembrance: “Tearing the Cloak in Two” by Caitlin Matthews

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Photo courtesy of JimboJones2456 from youthedesigner.com

“Happy and young and gallant,
They saw their first-born go,
But not the strong limbs broken
And the beautiful men brought low.”
– Ewart Alan Mackintosh, “In Memoriam, Private D. Sutherland”

Within the last five generations, there has probably not been a family living that did not have some remembrance of war and conflict, some dead to mourn as a result of warfare. This day, November 11, has commemorated dead warriors, throughout the Western world, since the armistice of the First World War.

Those who serve in the defense of their families and countries – like the Gaulish soldier St. Martin of Tours, who tore his fine cloak in two to cloth the needy- tear the cloak of their lives in two, severing themselves from accustomed comfort and habitual kindness to enter a zone of pain and confrontation.

In our own age, where much of the warfare is against ignorance, heartlessness, and environmental devastation, new kinds of warriors learn the art of sacrifice with a different set of weapons. They seek to tear their lives in two to make a greater mantle in the defense of the poor, innocent, the needy.

We no longer glorify war as our ancestors did; the loss, grief, and bewilderment of families for their fallen have been too great in this century for such assuaging. We count the cost and bless the sacrifice of those who have had the courage to tear the cloak in two, knowing that they did not glory in the pain and bloodshed any more than we ourselves now do.

– The Celtic Spirit: Daily Meditations for the Turning Year by Caitlin Matthews

Prayers of Remembrance 

You left to help, you left to save.
You left to cry, and we to weep.
You left to honour, you left to fight.
You left to cry, and we to weep.

You went not to rape, not to torture.
You left to cry, and we to weep.
You went not to hate, not to spit.
You left to cry, and we to weep.

You traveled to defend the woods.
You traveled to defend the peace.
You traveled to defend the waters.
You traveled to defend the peace.

You left, and went, and traveled far. But-
You did not return.
You did not return as you left us. No-
You did not return as you left us. 

Now you do not cry, now we do not weep.
Instead we remember you, our warriors.
Now you do not cry, now we do not weep.
Our lovers, sisters, brothers, friends.

We remember you in our actions, our thoughts, and our deeds.
To honour your memory, to honour your love.
Now you do not cry, now we do not weep.
We remember you, and we love you.
And we will live on.

For those who have perished and been lost, on both sides of the front. For those who never had the thirst of blood upon their tongues. Who went, and who never wanted to kill, until they had to. For the healers, protesters, and peace makers who have also lost their lives in the process.

Today, make your own prayer of remembrance for those who have died in war and for those who are on the battlefield of conflict throughout the world today. 

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