First Strike Ration | Thank you, Father Charlie

Today, brothers – I bring you Battle Rations’ very first First Strike Ration.

According to MRE Info, in traditional combat, “the First Strike Ration, or FSR, is a compact, eat-on-the-move assault ration designed for use during initial periods of highly intense, highly mobile combat operations. The FSR is substantially reduced in weight and size and enhances soldier consumption, nutritional intake, and mobility.”

Our idea here with Battle Rations? Between our traditional podcast episodes, sharing easily-consumed reflections that touch on a number of elements for the Catholic man in his battle. We’re calling these episodes, First Strike Rations.

If you follow Battle Rations on social media, you saw recently that I shared a photo of Fr. Charlie Goraieb, pastor of my parish, St. Timothy Catholic Church, along with a few words of gratitude and a reminder to us all to appreciate and honor our priests and the commitment they’ve made as our shepherds.

It was during Fr. Charlie’s farewell Mass that I was so moved and reminded of the beauty and absolute blessing of the priesthood. During Fr. Charlie’s homily, he approached the congregation and his first two words were those of a true servant: “thank you.”

Brothers – what you may not know is that – over the past couple of years – Fr. Charlie has challenged his parishioners to consider how they actively live their faith outside of Sunday Mass with his call for us to embrace what St. Timothy calls, Mass +1. Saint Timothy’s declares that the Mass is God’s gift to us and invites us to ask the question, “What is our gift to God?” Fr. Charlie has encouraged his flock to consider the impact we could have on the world if each of us not only went to Mass every week, but also added one more gift to God.

And that, my brothers – is where Battle Rations was truly born. Fruit of Fr. Charlie’s call to his people to give back to our Lord.

In my most recent conversation with Fr. Burns aka Fr. Pontifex, I asked him what we – as laity – could do for our priests. How could we possibly provide support and thank these witnesses for all that they do for us? For committing their lives to serving? For being the very vehicles through which we receive the sacraments? For standing at the front of battle lines everywhere? For lifting us up and calling us to greater things for the kingdom and the glory of God? And for staring the enemy in the face – day in and day out – hour by hour – minute by mine – and saying, “Not on my watch.” Recall Father Burns’ response. Encourage your priest. Give him the benefit of the doubt and pray for him.

My challenge to you, my brothers in battle, is to pray for your priests, your spiritual fathers. Thank these men in black for their YES to our Lord. Answer our shepherds’ calls to serve. Encourage your priests. Love them and most importantly, appreciate every moment – every conversation – every blessing.

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