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Boniface, Common Legionary ca 417

Today the Order remembers a common soldier, Boniface. As far as I know, he did nothing remarkable. He was a mere Christian legionary of the Roman Army who apparently struggled with concerns about his service to God and country. We know of him through a letter that has been preserved through the ages that was meant to reassure and encourage him.

 To the Order of Centurions Boniface represents every Christian military person whose name is never remembered, but whose name is written in the Book of Life – one of the least of His.

 In US Army tradition, Boniface is like who we called, “Joe Tentpeg  In dining-ins we always used to salute and toast Joe Tentpeg, representative of the faceless private soldier who quietly endured hardships and did his duty. We knew that he was the main reason for our being as leaders. Today, likewise, the Order of Centurion recognizes Boniface as a symbol of the millions of unnamed Christian soldiers around the world, throughout the ages, who now serve or have served Christ First, as well as their nation.


Do not think that no one can please God who is a soldier in military arms. Holy David was among these, to whom the Lord gave such great witness [cf. 1 Kings 14. 7, where God says David, "followed me with all his heart, doing only what was right in my eyes"] and many just men of that time among them. Among these was Cornelius [Acts 10] to whom the angel was sent.... Among these were those who came to John for baptism.... Surely he did not forbid them to serve in arms, to whom he ordered to be content with their pay.... . Some therefore fight for you by praying against invisible enemies; you work for them by fighting against visible barbarians.... So think first of this, when you arm yourself for battle, that even your bodily strength is a gift of God.... (c. AD 417 St. Augustine to Boniface, a Soldier Epistle 189, Paragraph 60)

Augustine Sermon IX

Ye then who have found a Father in heaven, be loth to cleave to the things of earth. For ye are about to say, "Our Father, which art in heaven." You have begun to belong to a great family. Under this Father the lord and the slave are brethren; under this Father the general and the common soldier are brethren; under this Father the rich man and the poor are brethren. All Christian believers have divers fathers in earth, some noble, some obscure; but they all call upon one Father which is in heaven.



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