Soldier for God!

By Brother John B. Maganzini

We all hold on to memories and for most of us the memories of our years in the U.S. Army and in Vietnam are among the most prominent in our minds. For me, those memories are directly linked to my present life. I am a member of the Franciscan Order, the Order that was founded by Saint Francis, who, too, was a former soldier.

People are stunned when they learn that before I entered the Order, I served in Vietnam. They usually preface their statements with, “Really?” What brought you to decide to give your life to God and God’s people? The answer is quite simple.

During my two years in the Army, I had the chance to meet many wonderful people and to really sense the term “brotherhood”. It took on a new meaning for me and I know I faced God in situations and in people time and time again. I learned the word “service” in serving both my Country and my “brothers”. I learned what it meant to give totally of oneself. I learned the meaning of the word “commitment” when I was committed to doing my part. I learned the words “faith, hope and love” as I spoke with wonderful Vietnamese civilians who came to work in our Units.

Finally, I learned the word “God” in a new and wonderful way. God was there and the strength that got me through and the light that I could look for on very dark days. God was in the eyes of all I met. God was within.

So, my decision was made! It had to be a life of service and commitment with other “brothers” who sought to find God in the people they minister to.

My life in Vietnam brought me to God. When I share my faith journey, my experiences in the 11th Armored Cavalry are part of the story. You see, brothers, I found God among you!