Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Christ the Hero

Recently, President Bush awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously to Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor. Monsoor, 25, died in in a firefight in Ramadi, Iraq when he threw himself on a grenade to save the other men in his unit. He was a practicing Catholic.

One of the most telling bits to be published in the reporting of the very emotional medal presentation was from his chaplain, Fr. Paul Halladay:

"So when it came to laying down his life for his friends, his faith life allowed him to do that without a moment's hesitation."

There's nothing more Christlike than this sacrifice of one's own life to save the lives of others. Our Lord is not the "gentle Jesus", passive and effeminate, that he has often been portrayed to be in recent centuries. He was a warrior -- a spiritual warrior, that is -- the greatest that has ever lived, or will ever live. He threw himself on the grenade of our race's guilt and well-earned punishment, and took the blast Himself. That's a hero, the kind any man -- and I say "man" advisedly -- could follow proudly.

The Church desperately needs to draw real men back to itself. Men follow heroes. Christ is and will always be the Hero who never disappoints, who looked a horrifying death in the eye and walked right into it to save us all. That's the Christ whose face we should recognize more often, whose desperate but calm expression we might also have seen in Michael Monsoor as he made his decision in that moment in Ramadi.