August 25th, 2014

The greatest of these

During the time James Foley was in captivity, he tried to write letters to his parents, but they were intercepted. Resourcefully, he came up with the solution of composing one and asking a fellow-hostage who was about to be released to commit it to memory and transmit it to Foley’s family.

You can read the letter here. Because of the medium of transmission, Foley probably couldn’t make it as polished as he might have had he (a writer) actually been writing it it down.

So he cut to the chase. His message was about love and memory: love of family and memories of them that sustained him. Love and appreciation for the companions he had even during his terrible ordeal, the bad parts of which (which no doubt were many and severe, even before his death) he ignores. He was trying to reassure his family that their terror and and their fears were not as justified as they ended up being.

Foley’s letter also makes it clear that prayer helped to sustain him. Reading it, my hope is that prayer continued to sustain him in the dark hours of his final suffering on this earth, and that wherever he is now, it is a very good place.

In that spirit I offer this:

For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

RIP James Foley.

[ADDENDUM: The Anchoress has some words on the matter of prayer, our response to ISIS, and martyrdom.

Here is an article about what Foley himself wrote about how prayer sustained him during his earlier captivity in Libya. And this is what Foley said in an article for the Marquette (his alma mater) magazine on the same topic, including how praying the rosary and sensing the prayers of others helped him.

Anyone who wonders why people keep saying what a strong person Foley was need only read these articles to understand.]

15 Responses to “The greatest of these”

  1. kaba Says:

    One of my favorite Chapters from the Bible. Thank you neo.

  2. sharon g. Says:


  3. Cornhead Says:

    You are a gem Neo.

  4. vanderleun Says:

    Prayer’s fine, but I pray Foley is revenged 10,000 fold.

  5. artfldgr Says:

    prayer is more useful in the worst times of your life

    people who have good lives and who have been blessed by not having really really bad times, tend not to see the value of prayer.

    besides… even athiests say oh god when they orgasm..
    which is interesting.. nothing like an embarrased athiest who said oh god, oh god, oh god…


  6. artfldgr Says:

    in all my travels i have yet to hear an athiest orgasm and say, oh santa, or oh my easter bunny… or any number of things…

    the point that may be missed is that deep down we know a difference, and the difference when called does sustain.

    athiests in the death camps did not do as well or survive well
    though in camps where they could be the sociopathic brutes, they did better

    According to a recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry religious affiliation is associated with significantly lower levels of suicide compared to religiously unaffiliated people, atheists and agnostics. Source: Kanita Dervic, Maria A. Oquendo, Michael F. Grunebaum, Steve Ellis, Ainsley K. Burke, and J. John Mann. “Religious Affiliation and Suicide Attempt” (161:2303-2308, December 2004).

    however you will read the opposite all over!!!

    Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation. Unaffiliated subjects were younger, less often married, less often had children, and had less contact with family members. Furthermore, subjects with no religious affiliation perceived fewer reasons for living, particularly fewer moral objections to suicide. In terms of clinical characteristics, religiously unaffiliated subjects had more lifetime impulsivity, aggression, and past substance use disorder. No differences in the level of subjective and objective depression, hopelessness, or stressful life events were found.

    veddy interesting…
    but you will be attacked for the truth…

  7. artfldgr Says:

    Concerning suicide rates, this is the one indicator of societal health in which religious nations fare much better than secular nations. According to the 2003 World Health Organization’s report on international male suicides rates (which compared 100 countries), of the top ten nations with the highest male suicide rates, all but one (Sri Lanka) are strongly irreligious nations with high levels of atheism. It is interesting to note, however, that of the top remaining nine nations leading the world in male suicide rates, all are former Soviet/Communist nations, such as Belarus, Ukraine, and Latvia. Of the bottom ten nations with the lowest male suicide rates, all are highly religious nations with statistically insignificant levels of organic atheism.

  8. Charles Says:

    It is hard to read that letter and not have your eyes tear up; especially the end:

    “Grammy . . . Stay strong because I am going to need your help to reclaim my life.”

    How on earth will we ever rid the world of such evil as ISIS?

  9. Mike Says:

    Foley’s demeanor based on his faith is a thing stronger than the ISIS animals. It’s exactly what happened when the Roman animals killed Christians in the most unspeakable ways. In the end, they were amazed at how they died with love and courage and peace.

    Foley is 100 times the man his murderers are – and truly the ones who know that most deeply and most intimately are his murderers.

    Their hell is only just begun.

  10. Steve57 Says:

    Mike said:

    “Foley’s demeanor based on his faith is a thing stronger than the ISIS animals.

    …Foley is 100 times the man his murderers are…

    …Their hell is only just begun.”

    All axiomatically true. Except for the last part. The earlier parts were up to Foley. He carried his end of the log. Making sure their hell has only just begun is up to the rest of us.

    “Anyone who wonders why people keep saying what a strong person Foley was need only read these articles to understand.”

    I don’t wonder. I’ve been through SERE in the Navy. But that’s training intended for dealing with an enemy that’s somewhat normal. Not this. Not ISIS. Not that I’m particularly afraid; monsters have always existed.

    “For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Commander of Submarine Coordinated Attack Group with Flag in the USS Sculpin, during the 9th war patrol of the vessel in enemy controlled waters off Truk Island 19 November 1943. Undertaking this patrol prior to launching our first large scale offensive in the Pacific, Captain Cromwell, alone of the entire task group, possessed secret intelligence information of our submarine strategy and tactics, scheduled fleet movements and specific attack plans.

    … Determined to sacrifice himself rather than risk capture and subsequent danger of revealing plans under Japanese torture or use of drugs, he stoically remained aboard the mortally wounded vessel as she plunged to her death.”

    There will be no more Fabrizio Quattrochis. The Islamists have learned from their mistakes.

  11. Steve57 Says:

    Plan accordingly.

  12. J.J. Says:

    A nice eulogy for James Foley. A brave man of faith. I could not have been so strong. May God bless and keep him.

  13. Sharon W Says:

    I have thought of James Foley and prayed for his family many times this week. He and his family were mentioned in the prayers of the faithful at church Saturday evening. Neo, the scripture you cite…”then we shall see face to face” that is what I have designated as the words to appear on my Mass card & grave marker. Prayer has sustained me through my life and I can only imagine what state I would be in without it.

  14. parker Says:

    I am with vanderleun, prayer and paying respects to the dead is needed, but we have long been past the point (the taking of the embassy in Tehran) in taking 1, 000,000 eyes for every eye taken from humanities’ greatest achievement: Western Civilization. Until the West wakes up and decides to annihilate these allah m#£th#rf*c%kers we are on a downward slide to our annihilation.

  15. Beverly Says:

    Lux aeterna luceat eis, Domine:

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

Monthly Archives


Ace (bold)
AmericanDigest (writer’s digest)
AmericanThinker (thought full)
Anchoress (first things first)
AnnAlthouse (more than law)
AtlasShrugs (fearless)
AugeanStables (historian’s task)
Baldilocks (outspoken)
Barcepundit (theBrainInSpain)
Beldar (Texas lawman)
BelmontClub (deep thoughts)
Betsy’sPage (teach)
Bookworm (writingReader)
Breitbart (big)
ChicagoBoyz (boyz will be)
Contentions (CommentaryBlog)
DanielInVenezuela (against tyranny)
DeanEsmay (conservative liberal)
Donklephant (political chimera)
Dr.Helen (rights of man)
Dr.Sanity (thinking shrink)
DreamsToLightening (Asher)
EdDriscoll (market liberal)
Fausta’sBlog (opinionated)
GayPatriot (self-explanatory)
HadEnoughTherapy? (yep)
HotAir (a roomful)
InFromTheCold (once a spook)
InstaPundit (the hub)
JawaReport (the doctor is Rusty)
LegalInsurrection (law prof)
RedState (conservative)
Maggie’sFarm (centrist commune)
MelaniePhillips (formidable)
MerylYourish (centrist)
MichaelTotten (globetrotter)
MichaelYon (War Zones)
Michelle Malkin (clarion pen)
Michelle Obama's Mirror (reflections)
MudvilleGazette (milblog central)
NoPasaran! (behind French facade)
NormanGeras (principled leftist)
OneCosmos (Gagdad Bob’s blog)
PJMedia (comprehensive)
PointOfNoReturn (Jewish refugees)
Powerline (foursight)
ProteinWisdom (wiseguy)
QandO (neolibertarian)
RachelLucas (in Italy)
RogerL.Simon (PJ guy)
SecondDraft (be the judge)
SeekerBlog (inquiring minds)
SisterToldjah (she said)
Sisu (commentary plus cats)
Spengler (Goldman)
TheDoctorIsIn (indeed)
Tigerhawk (eclectic talk)
VictorDavisHanson (prof)
Vodkapundit (drinker-thinker)
Volokh (lawblog)
Zombie (alive)

Regent Badge