Senator Edward Moore Kennedy passed away Tuesday night after a year of courageously confronting cancer. His life was truly a witness to what is dearest to us as Catholics: searching for truth, persevering in the face of adversity, and living primarily for the wellbeing of others.
More than most, he took his lumps. He was philosophical about the shortness of life, after enduring at a young age the passing of three noble older brothers and his sister Kathleen. He was an army veteran, an assistant district attorney, and ultimately a heroic presence in the Senate--for 15 or more hours a day--for 47 years. Despite a lifetime of back pain, and ultimately the suffering he endured this past year, he soldiered on in service to others.
He believed in forgiveness and redemption. His phone messages were full of humility. He always began with his name, never presuming the recipient knew who he was, and wasn't shy about giving out his home number with an invitation to call late at night. He believed in the power of imagination to solve problems, and recognized how often brute force was doomed to failure. He believed that God had to have a sense of humor, and his laugh had a way of filling the room. He was such a good story teller, woven from his remarkable web of acquaintances and personal experiences. He was deeply devoted to his family, a relationship that neither ever seemed to take for granted.
In all these things he was deeply Catholic, and an inspiration to the rest of us striving to live in God's love.
Hail, holy Queen, Mother of Mercy!
Our life, our sweetness, and our hope!
To thee do we cry, poor banished
children of Eve, to thee do we send
up our sighs, mourning and weeping
in this valley of tears.
Turn, then, most gracious advocate,
thine eyes of mercy toward us; and
after this our exile show unto us the
blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus;
O clement, O loving, O sweet virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the
promises of Christ.