Please say a prayer for a wonderful priest who died yesterday. I met Fr. Gerard Steckler, S.J. in the summer of 1979. He was chaplain for a "Studies in Catholic Culture" program held in Spain. Father Steckler was the one who introduced me to the Liturgy of the Hours, prodding me (and all the other students) to join him for Night Prayer in the chapel each night. The beauty of these particular psalms, combined with the Nunc Dimittis and the "Into thy hands, Lord" responsory grabbed my imagination at once. Night Prayer's message of setting aside the cares of the day, repenting our sins, surrendering to the mercy of God for our life and our death made me realize that this was the perfect way to end each day. Within the next year I'd added morning and evening prayer, embarking on a journey of liturgical prayer that has continued to this day.
Fr. Steckler came into my life again when he became a chaplain at Thomas Aquinas College in the 80s, while my husband worked there for a ten year stretch. He baptized two of our children. He was a wonderful confessor, spiritual director, and preacher. His sometimes scathing wit helped many of us to not take ourselves too seriously and to accept suffering with a grin (if we could) as a necessary (and deserved) part of our earthly lot. He was fond of puctuating his comments on society by saying, "There's no hope!", yet with a smile and a twinkle which told us that a great Hope lay elsewhere.
Coincidentally, Msgr. Charles Pope has a post today about Compline/ Night Prayer. It's worth checking out.