Driving through Camden on the way to work this morning, Bruce Springsteen’s “Into the Fire” came on the radio. I knew the song, but I have never listened closely until today.
One of the reflective tracks from his post-9/11 album “The Rising,” “Into the Fire” remembers the service and sacrifice of New York’s firefighters that September morning:
The sky was falling and streaked with blood
I heard you calling me, then you disappeared into the dust
Up the stairs, into the fire…
But it was the refrain today that caught my ear. Repeated over and over, like a Taize chant, it struck me as the prayer of a person overwhelmed by sorrow, but unwilling to give up.
May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love
It’s a perfect hymn for all those working to protect human life at all stages and to build a more just and peaceful society.
May your unwavering strength inspire us to keep walking with the poor and vulnerable, God.
May your faith in us renew our faith in you, and our belief that you are always by our side, God.
May your hope that the world will become more like heaven give us hope even in the most challenging moments.
And may your love for the world and your children most in need soften our hearts whenever we are tempted by cynicism.
Bishop Sullivan’s birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day — not bad for an Irish-American bishop! We threw him a little céilí last week at the Pastoral Center before he headed up to NYC to celebrate Mass kicking off the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
An Irish folk musician came to the party, and before long Bishop Sullivan was up at the front of the room, leading the 40 or 50 of us in “Wild Mountain Thyme.” I was a few seconds late with the camera and shot it vertically instead of horizontally (which explains the black bars on either side of the video), but Bishop’s strong voice comes through loud and clear. It was a great moment.
This post misses St. Paddy’s by a few days, but it’s good to be Irish all year round. And I’ll hope it serves as a blessing on the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish basketball teams, set to take the court in the NCAA men’s and women’s tournaments this weekend. (The men’s team, at least, needs all the grace it can get if we hope to avoid a first-round loss.)