Bartle’s is ultimately freed from his burden, in a way. The Yellow Birds is a worthwhile read for anyone as it is so well written and captivating from start to finish. It truly made me consider and appreciate the beauty of Reconciliation and Penance and it enables the reader to better understand what our nation’s warriors endure. There often are no easy choices in combat and to survive many must numb their consciences. But that does not remove what they must repress. The taking of any human life, even in self-defense or in the defense of others, wounds oneself. It is part of the nature God placed within our hearts, minds, and souls.
Extend yourself to your friends who seem down. They may need to shed a secret and not be able to understand their need for grace. If you know Soldiers who have returned home, open yourself and listen to their entire story. Not all combat veterans bear this burden but we are now losing three Soldiers a day to suicide. Pray for them. It is likely that they do not know or see what is in their hearts. It remains a secret, even from them. You can help others uncover what it hidden and then offer them the wisdom in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance.
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