We are in the midst of “Graduation Season”! I am sure that all of the graduates have been getting lots of sage advice and I would be remiss if I did not add my two cents. So here goes.
Dear Graduates, you have reached a momentous point in your life. After much work and hopefully much prayer, you are entering a new phase of your life’s journey. This moment, while certainly an achievement and the result of your hard work and effort, is not all due to your efforts alone. You have been extremely gifted and blessed along the way. I say this not to in any way diminish your contributions and accomplishments but to simply speak the truth. You are standing on the shoulders of those who have preceded you; your parents, instructors, benefactors and so many more. Most of all, you have been gifted and blessed by God, who has given you your life, talents and abilities and every good thing that you have ever experienced. The Lord has given you all these good things because He loves you.
You may be wondering what you are to do next. You may or may not have plans. You may be excited, confused, hopeful or anxious or maybe some combination of all the above. Keep in mind that these many gifts from God that have enabled you to reach this point in your life’s journey were not given to you to be squandered! God has a plan and a mission for you. God wants only your ultimate happiness and fulfillment. The gifts that God has blessed you with are not given to you simply so that you can do whatever YOU want, but rather so that you can fulfill His plan for you. If you don’t know God’s plan for you, ask Him! God does not want you simply to do WELL, He wants you to do GOOD. It does not matter your profession or occupation, how many degrees you earn, how much wealth you accumulate or if you ever get your name in lights. What matters is that you do good with the gifts with which the Lord has blessed you. No other person on this planet or in all of history has the unique set of gifts and talents that you have. Work hard, do your best, use your gifts wisely and be generous and you will know contentment.
As you journey along the path of life, know that you are never alone. God is always with you. Stay close to Him. Pray every day, participate every week in the celebration of the Mass, never miss it – no matter what. Don’t worry what others think about you, be concerned about what God thinks of you. Live your faith in Christ as a Catholic with joy and without compromise. Be a virtuous person. Stay close to church and stay close to Mary and the saints. Take all your troubles and cares to God and give thanks for your blessings every day. Put your trust in Him and know that He knows what you need even before you ask. See every day as a gift that God personally gives to you and use that gift to let His love and His goodness shine through you. Whenever you find yourself beaten down, let God lift you up by lifting up your heart to Him. Always care but never worry. Just because you don’t have all the answers doesn’t mean that God doesn’t. He does and He reveals the answers to us when we need them the most, if we are willing to accept them. If we wait for the perfect time to follow God and to do His will, we will miss out on a lot of good that He wants us to have today.
Worldly success is a wonderful thing but it is not everything. Jesus never demanded success of His disciples but He does command fidelity and mercy. Remember too that laziness and holiness do not go together. No one ever cried on their death bed that they wish they had spent more time at work. Plenty of people have regretted that they failed to spend more time with God and their loved ones. This life is not all kicks and laughs. There are real sorrows and true suffering and pain. Never moan that you are the victim because life hasn’t been fair to you. Everyone has their sorrows and pains. If God did not exempt Jesus from suffering, what makes you think you should be exempt? If we bear our sufferings patiently, carrying them with Jesus and out of love for Jesus, we have a way through suffering. One of the best ways to lessen the weight of our burdens is to help ease the weight of others’ burdens.
Lastly, remember that Jesus has come so that His joy may be yours and that your joy maybe complete!
Congratulations and every blessing!
In pace Christi,