Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Edward Kennedy

Very likely, according to the prognosis of his doctors, Sen. Ted Kennedy will be passing along soon, perhaps as early as two years, into the hands of his Maker or into the void. He is the last Kennedy of what we here in the United States have come to regard as the “First Family.”

Those who belive in a "Maker" are sometimes comforted by the Veni Creator Spiritus:

Creator Spirit, by whose aid
The world's foundations first were laid,
Come visit every pious mind,
Come pour Thy joys on human kind;
From sin and sorrow set us free,
And make Thy temples worthy Thee.


Others pay cash.

Most of us were young when Sen. Edward Kennedy's brother John was elected the first Catholic president. When JFK died, I was just passing through my freshman year in college. Everybody remembers where they were on that dreadful day. I had just taken a shower after a basket ball game, and when I rushed through the doors out into the bright November day, the parking lot was crowded with cars, one girl draped over the hood of a red car crying fiercely.

“What’s the matter?”

“They shot Kennedy.”

None of my friends had cars; so three of us decided to hitch to Washington DC to be there at this moment of sorrow and despair. Hitching was no problem; it seemed on that day that all roads led to the Capitol, where Kennedy’s body was to lie in state. A short while after the assassination, I found myself on a Washington street, sunk in Walt Whitman’s teeming Democratic Mass, watching powerful horses carrying the fallen president’s body to the capitol.

"I will… go with drivers and boatmen and men that catch fish or work in fields. I know they are sublime,” Whitman wrote.

It was, in a Whitmanesque sense, a sublime day – that is to say, a day filled with terrifying vistas.

Everyman is a terrifying vista.

When we arrived home, we felt a gaping wound had opened in our lives.

There will be time, another poet said:

There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions…


that time will soon erase.

These are prayerful times: A time to be silent, a time to pray.
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