And so, four years later we’re all at it again. Graduation. “Commencement exercises”: The exercise of commencing the next chapter of our lives and all of the sappy rhetoric and teary goodbyes these events imply.
I went to North Central for a year with the strange idea that the future I’d invented for myself of being a high school english teacher and a total baller would somehow come true of my own volition. Let’s just say that only one those dreams has any hope of coming true and, sadly, I’ll never be a high school english teacher.
Then I left NCC to study for the priesthood. And, seriously, I’ve never been this happy. Despite the amount that I complain, I actually really liked studying philosophy. I feel like I actually know how to think critically and effectively about the world. I praise God for this gift. Of all the beautiful things that I learned, what I think is the most important did not come from a textbook, but from the heart of Saint John Paul II who said that “we are not the sum of our weaknesses and failures; we are the sum of the Father’s love for us.”
Through the grace of God’s loving providence, I finally encountered – and I do mean in a real, tangible way – the Father’s love for me. I was able to see for the first time, and then time and time again, that Jesus really does love me, that Jesus really does have a plan, that Jesus really does believe in me. I finally understand that, though God does know my heart, through the sacraments (especially confession and the Eucharist) we are invited to know God’s heart. It is knowledge of this heart, it our loving and praising and surrendering to this heart, that serves as the foundation of true conversion. Jesus does not call us merely to believing or professing faith in him as a means to salvation. No, he calls us to true conversion of heart; he wants to change our entire world and make it beautiful again. In a word, it will no longer be we who live, but Christ who lives in us. That sound familiar? This inward change makes all the difference; let yourself be rescued. Let him change you heart.
“I must desire, not to be what I am not, but to be very truly what I really am.” St. John XXIII
From the flip side,