Posted by: fvbcdm | November 14, 2011

Feast of Saint Lawrence O’Toole (14 Nov 2011)

 As the Church lives and prays her way through the Liturgy of the Hours which is, with the Mass, the official prayer system of our Catholic community throughout the world, we come every four weeks to the beginning of the cycle of prayer based primarily on the book of the psalms. Those are prayers composed during the Old Testament by Hebrew religious leaders, including Kings David and Solomon, and used ever since then by Jews and Christians alike in our religious life.
This week we come again to the beginning of the four-week cycle, and the concluding prayer for Morning Prayer for today says this: Father, may everything we do begin with your inspiration and continue with your saving help.  Let our work always find its origin in you and through you, reach completion.
This prayer is particularly meaningful to me because during the years when I was pastor of Saint Dominic Parish in New Orleans, Archbishop Philip Hannan was the ordinary, that is, he was the ruling prelate for that archdiocese.  And whenever he attended a conference or meeting of any sort and was asked to begin it with a prayer, he used that simple, beautiful request of God to be with us in all that we do: beginning, accomplishment, and conclusion.  So today, as we used that prayer, asking our Heavenly Father to help us to begin, continue, and conclude all we do, I thought of Archbishop Hannan who died just six weeks ago at the ripe old age of ninety-eight!
When it became evident that Archbishop Hannan was nearing his death, the present Archbishop, Gregory Aymond, was called to give him the last rites of the Church.  After the final absolution had been given, Archbishop Hannan said, so characteristically, “Sounds good to me!”  He was a kind, gentle man, with a good sense of humor even as he welcomed his own death approaching.  During World War II he was a military chaplain with the paratroopers of the American army.  He made many jumps with his men, and was the first priest to minister in the large German city of Cologne after its liberation from the Nazis.  He told us one time, with a chuckle, that for a while there, he alone was responsible for the whole archdiocese of Cologne, and he didn’t even speak German!
Today, let me suggest that we use that simple, short, but beautiful prayer to dedicate all that we do to God: beginning, middle, and end. Thus we serve God in all we do, carrying out what Our Lord says in the gospel: I did not come to be served, but to serve.  Thank you for seeking God’s truth.  God bless you.  Father Victor Brown, O.P. 


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