Patrick Laurence (’96)

A few months back, Ad Veritatem, the publication of the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County, California, featured an interview with alumnus attorney Sean Murray (’97). The magazine has since followed up with a profile of a second Thomas Aquinas College graduate, Patrick Laurence (’96), an associate at Murtaugh Meyer Nelson & Treglia LLP. The interview includes this insightful response to the question, “What do you appreciate most about the Faith?”:

“The Faith gives meaning and purpose to everything. There is no better explanation for the tragedy of the human predicament than the wound of Original Sin. We all do things to each other which we know we should not do. We also experience what Catholic writer Blaise Pascal described as default feelings of ‘forlornness’ and ‘emptiness.’ In short, we have an acute sense that something has gone wrong. Human nature itself seems to have been corrupted, which fits in very well with the idea of Original Sin.

“But our faith explains not only the cause of our wound, it also tells us how to heal it — we need to employ the heart. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.… Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). Still, no matter the greatness of our love, it is obvious that we cannot achieve true happiness in this life. And so we have been given that clear-eyed statement of Catholic belief and purpose: ‘God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven’ (Baltimore Catechism).”

Mr. Laurence goes on to cite St. Joseph as his favorite saint, while invoking the example of St. Thérèse of Lisieux in the following advice to young Catholic attorneys:

“The day-to-day work of most lawyers does not involve issues of pressing importance to the Faith today, such as religious liberty or human rights. No, most of us are like St. Thérèse of Lisieux, who wanted to be a missionary in distant lands, but was content instead to do small things well within her own monastery in France. My advice would be to work out your salvation within the confines of your own office. Put in a good and honest day’s work. Be kind to your support staff. Be charitable but firm with opposing counsel and clients. Use those temporary breaks throughout your day as moments for short mental prayer. Do the small things well.”

The full interview is available (PDF), via the St. Thomas More Society of Orange County.