Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died in a plane crash — “the day the music died.” And so, as it happened, the first thing I heard this morning was Don McLean singing “This will be the day that I die” from “American Pie.”
So far, so good. But it’s worth a prayer still (and every night and morning and times in between when sending e-mails while crossing streets):
Give me the grace so to spend my life,
That when the day of my death shall come,
Though I may feel pain in my body,
I may feel comfort in soul;
And with faithful hope in thy mercy,
In due love towards thee
And charity towards the world,
I may, through thy grace,
Part hence in thy glory.
— courtesy of St. Thomas More
That prayer is reprinted in Bill Bennett’s The Book of Man (basically a Book of Virtues for men of all ages and those who love them), which has a beautiful section on prayer. Because, as the husband, father of two young men, and former secretary of education told me:
A strong man knows where and when and from Whom he needs help.
When I asked him why he considers the Agnus Dei — which he has in the book (Latin and English) — one of his favorite prayers, he said:
Because I go like hell all the time in a lot of directions — in work, in play, at home, on the radio, on the road, and everywhere else — and I will be fine when that peace comes, though I am not eager for it. I want that peace, but to paraphrase St. Augustine, not yet. I look forward to that peace, but not yet.