Man must cease attributing his problems to his environment, and learn again to exercise his will – his personal responsibility in the realm of faith and morals.

Albert Schweitzer

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In sentencing one of the students who participated in destroying evidence associated with the Boston Marathon Bomber and lying to the FBI, the Federal Judge reminded the student that there is a cost for not being responsible.

How rare it is to have that truth expressed.

We are a culture where irresponsibility flourishes as people do their “own thing” and those who fear to struggle to achieve readily adopt excuses – always identifying someone or something other than themselves as the “reason” they are behind the eight-ball.

Indeed, the mantra of excuse is one of the signal refrains of one or our two national political parties.  Don’t blame you, don’t blame me – blame that man behind the tree!

Recently I saw again Saving Private Ryan and was struck by how decisions were made that honored a responsibility arising from an order given by a superior, and how choices were made in executing that order that accounted for the “right” thing.

On the latter point, when Captain Miller and his small band of men find Pvt. Ryan and attempt to transport him out of combat, the decision is made to remain with Ryan and his “brothers” in his unit to defend a bridge that has significant value in the closing days of World War II.

In making the decision to honor Ryan’s desire to stay with his comrades, Captain Miller was acceding to a spiritual reality, a transcendent purpose: Ryan (having been informed that his actual brothers had all died in combat) would not leave “the only brothers he has left.”

Responsibility.

How we could use more of it.

Responsibility.

It elevates us.  Makes a man a man.  Distinguishes the human person.

How we so desperately need it now.  Especially as the forces of evil draw near.

Shalom.

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