Archbishop John Carroll, the first bishop of Baltimore, was asked to compose the Inauguration Prayer for President George Washington’s first inauguration as President of the United States. I am going to borrow some of the lines from the Archbishop’s Inauguration Prayer for today’s column I thought is was appropriate as it expressed very clearly and beautifully the first steps President Washington was taking as he stepped into his exalted office as first president of the United States. I thought too, as we reflect on these lines we might see how fitting these thoughts are as we celebrate yet another birthday of our country.
The Archbishop’s Inauguration Prayer (excerpts from the prayer)
“God of power and might, wisdom and justice,
Through You authority is rightly administered,
Laws are enacted, and justice is decreed.
Assist with your Spirit of counsel and fortitude
The President of the United States that his administration
May be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful
To your people.
May he encourage due respect for virtue and religion.
May he execute the laws with justice and mercy.
May he seek to restrain crime, vice and immorality.
We likewise commend to your unbounded mercy
All who dwell in the United States.
Bless us and all people with the peace
Which the world cannot give.
We all celebrate this special day with gatherings of family and friends. Oftentimes we light up the skies with fireworks at the end of the day. All is well and good, but most of all let us all spend a little time in prayerful reflection that the virtues the archbishop offered for President Washington may be bestowed on our current president and all his future successors.
Lord knows how deeply we need to be reminded and encouraged to promote all these virtues for the good of all our people and for the whole world.
May God bless our beloved country and all its people.