It is that time if year. Across college and high school and elementary and junior high school campuses, graduates and faculty will wear fancy robes, loves ones will shine with pride, and very smart and wealthy people will go on and on with messages of hope, success, and gratitude.
Several years ago, I was honored and humbled to give the commencement speech at an 8th grade graduation. I knew these students as they were a part of our parish youth ministry.
I found out later one of the students was watching a hockey playoff game on his phone the whole time, which is exactly what I would have done.
I was not invited to shed some wisdom before any select group of students in transition this year, but I do have something to say. It not only applies to those wearing uncomfortable hats over the next few weeks, but to all of us- students of life.
So here it is:
Today, right now, do something for you. Something to help you grow, to heal, to learn, to love greater and to feel deeper.
Today, do something for someone else. Give love, especially to those most in need, to those who are rejected, those who are unfamiliar and maybe even frightening. Give love.
It is that simple.
Nothing else really matters. Sure on some level it does, but it won’t at the end. What truly matters is knowing you are loved and giving that love.
In a divided world, filled with hurt, anger and confusion- we must create a revolution of love. And it starts with you. Today. Right now.
Spend every day seeking that love. As a person of faith, I wholeheartedly believe that love is not only of God, but it is God. In these terms, you can pursue life this way: spend every day seeking God.
It is more fulfilling than money, fame, job titles, fancy homes or cars. They all are fine and nice but they will not bring you peace if you do not have that love of God in your life, and guiding your life.
Seek it out with all your heart, body, mind and soul. Find it in prayer, in nature, in places of worship, in art and books, and in others.
You do not need a degree to find God. But with your degree, you now have different, and at times, more opportunities to shine God’s light and love. Use your degree to do just that.
So congratulations and look back on your journey with pride, joy, and gratitude. Thank those who made this possible, especially your God.
And after the robe comes off and life continues- let’s go!
Every day, seek God. Find God and be God for others.
The world needs your love, God’s love.