President Bush spoke this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. You can read his entire remarks “here.”:http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/02/20070201.html
Toward the end, he spoke about Father Mychal Judge (below), the Fire Department chaplain who died on 9/11 and was a beloved figure for many New Yorkers. Here’s what he said:
“Many in our country know the power of prayer. Prayer changes hearts. Prayer changes lives. And prayer makes us a more compassionate and giving people. When we pray we surrender our will to the Almighty, and open ourselves up to His priorities and His touch. His call to love our neighbors as we would like to be loved ourselves is something that we hear when we pray. And we answer that call by reaching out to feed the hungry and clothe the poor and aid the widow and the orphan. By helping our brothers and sisters in need, we find our own faith strengthened, and we receive the grace to lead lives of dignity and purpose.
We see this grace in the life of a young American named Shannon Hickey. Shannon was one of Laura’s guests at the State of the Union. When Shannon was growing up, her favorite priest was Father Mychal Judge, a chaplain with the New York City Fire Department. Father Mychal helped Shannon and her family through Shannon’s struggle with liver disease. On September the 11th, 2001, Father Mychal lost his life in the World Trade Center. In memory of her friend, Shannon founded Mychal’s Message, a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing Father Mychal’s loving spirit. Over the last five years, Mychal’s Message has collected and distributed more than 100,000 needed items to the poor and the homeless. With each gift to the needy, Shannon encloses a card with Father Mychal’s personal prayer. It reads: “Lord, take me where you want me to go, let me meet who you want me to meet, tell me what you want me to say, and keep me out of your way.”
Father Mychal’s humble prayer reminds us of an eternal truth: In the quiet of prayer, we leave behind our own cares and we take up the cares of the Almighty. And in answering His call to service we find that, in the words of Isaiah, “We will gain new strength. We will run and not get tired. We will walk and not become weary.”
And so I thank you for joining us on this day of prayer. I thank you for the tradition you continue here today. And I ask for God’s blessings on the United States of America.” (Applause.)