Words not spoken but worth repeating

A few weeks ago, when at the Diocesan Retreat for the Priests of Clogher Diocese, one of the men mentioned by way of introducing Evening Prayer that one of the lines in the Psalm had a special meaning for him.  It runs something like “If The Lord does not watch over the city, in vain do its watchmen keep vigil”. (Psalm 127)  He mentioned that these words were to bring to a close a speech to be given by President John F. Kennedy in Dallas the day he was assassinated.  I had never heard this before and sort of like facts of this kind.  I just searched for the speech and, sure enough, the closing lines are as my priest friend recalled, albeit a slightly different translation.  It’s a lengthy speech and President Kennedy spoke about unfairness in the media, about negativity and about his belief that the United States was in a better place.  The conclusion suggested that God had to be at the root of all that needed doing and all that he hoped to achieve …

We, in this country, in this generation, are — by destiny rather than by choice — the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchmen waketh but in vain.”

Comments are closed