Snow has arrived, again, in Central Illinois, so it is time for my annual look at Patton’s Weather Prayer.
“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”
The famous “weather prayer” of General Patton was written by a Catholic Chaplain, Colonel James H. O’Neill. Here is his article on the incident written in 1950.
Patton was an interesting mixture of contradictions in his spiritual life. Foul mouthed even by the standards of an army known for profanity, and much too fond of war for a Christian, he also read the Bible and prayed each day. A firm Episcopalian, yet he also firmly believed in reincarnation. While in command in Sicily he began attending mass, initially largely for political reasons to build a bridge to the Catholic population, but then found that he enjoyed worshipping at mass. He believed firmly in God and did not think that He stood aloof when men were fighting against one of the most evil regimes ever devised by Fallen Man.