REFLECTION FOR SENIOR GRADUATION 9:30 AM MASS
Mary Kate Ludick
My fellow Bennies, God is good! For He says, “Abide in my love.” Ah how comforting to here this having survived and thrived these past four years. From the triumphs, to upsets, to sleepless nights, we have made it and were filled with love and will continue to abide in God’s love.
Our entire college career we took classes that hurt our brains, classes that made us question life, and classes that made us realize we chose the right major. But life is the best class because it is the class that is teaching us how to love. Our entire life we are living in this school of love. We know that there are many types of love from loving family members, friends, maybe a romantic partner, but the best and most fulfilling type of love is agape…the unconditional love that Jesus models for us.
Jesus tells us “Here I am.” How uplifting to know that He is here and will continue to be here for us on this next journey ahead. Everything that we have done in life and will continue to do will create more love or less love. We turn away from love at times because it hurts us, it is too painful, or we are afraid, but love is the only way.
We all love our parents (or at least I hope we do) and are filled with gratitude for all of the sacrifices that they have made for us to be at this blessed Benedictine college, but our parents love us not because of what we do for them, but simply because we are theirs. They did not read any books on how to love, yet they learned how to love from God and through this life journey. Our parents would lay down their lives for us, which is beyond inspirational, but this will never compare to the unspeakable sacrifice that Jesus made by dying on the cross for us. Jesus was innocent and could have run away and hid at any point to avoid all of the pain and suffering, but his love of dying on the cross was extreme. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Jesus poured out his love to us and this was the ultimate expression of that and we cannot forget that he continues to pour out that love. It is never going to end.
To have the best life it seems as though love and joy must be at the forefront. Who doesn’t want complete joy in life? We think that so many accomplishments, material items, and people will give us that joy but it just keeps us yearning for more. God wants us to have complete joy for He said “I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete.” Is your joy complete? Jesus and The gospel are the way to this complete joy. Never forget the Benedictine values, especially awareness of God. By living in the presence of God it causes us to dance for joy. Do not lose sight of Him as he never loses sight of you. His presence is beyond powerful and full of so much joy and love.
This place has prepared us greatly for this next class on love that is ahead. For example, we have the Benedictine sisters here spreading and living out the example of the good love of the Lord everyday that have helped give us direction and guide us to be the best Bennies we can be. Every part of this amazing community and God have prepared us to head on to the next school of love. Continue to be challenged and live out these Benedictine values. Don’t ever lose sight of this wonderful community you have here. Take what you have learned and live out the service and hospitality that you have seen and exampled day in and day out. Let’s continue our faith and bring that love to the rest of the world to bring justice, service and hope for all. Bennies, may God bless us all as we continue onto the next class of love.
REFLECTION FOR 11 AM GRADUATION MASS
May 13, 2017
Hello, I am Jocelyn Alcala. I am an Elementary Education major and a Hispanic studies minor. I’ve had the honor of reflecting for this graduation mass and it means a lot, but it also terrifies me. If anything there is only one thing that I want you to remember about this reflection. Maybe two, but the most important is love. The second being “All I ever really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten”
As I was reflecting on what I would say, or what to write I often found myself only writing a sentence or two at a time. It’s so hard to think of something to say, because heck I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life. I read the scriptures, and in the first reading from Isaiah these words stood out to me “Then you shall call, and the lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.” That’s what I did. I thought “Wow, it’s literally telling me what to do.” It’s as if I was searching for something and thinking so hard of what to say, when it was under my nose the whole time! I’m not sure if there is a book that tells you what to do in life, but I would argue that the Word of God is probably the closest thing we have to that. How many times, in my/your collegiate experience, have I/you called and the Lord answered. Now, it might not have been the answer I/you wanted, but nonetheless it was an answer.
This semester I had the opportunity to student teach in a kindergarten classroom at a small Catholic school in Melrose. I was in for an adventure. I often thought “what am I doing?” How am I alive right now, after TPA, and little sleep? It reminded me of the time that I sat in the kitchen with my Guate-mama during study abroad. We watched Pope Francis visit Mexico, and the newsperson was commenting on the fact that Pope Francis hadn’t rested in a few days. They said “The holy spirit probably gives him rest” Think of all those sleepless nights in college, and the next day you couldn’t believe you were still functioning. “You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the father will give you whatever you ask him in my name.” And just like that God gives us the tools we need to live a joyful life full of love. Just as CSB gives us the tools to go forth into the world and let our light shine. Mother Theresa said it best, “I am not sure exactly what heaven will be like, but I know that when we die and it comes time for God to judge us, he will not ask, ‘How many good things have you done in your life?’ rather he will ask, ‘How much love did you put into what you did?”
In closing I would like to share a poem given to me by my cooperating teacher in Kindergarten. Ms. Frank.
All I ever really needed to know I learned in Kindergarten. By Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand box at nursery school.
These are the things I learned. Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you are sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw some and paint and sing and dance and play and work some everyday.
Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out in the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup- they all die. So do we.
And then remember that book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK! Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology, and politics and sane living.
Think of what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.
Now, we have been given everything we need; from the Benedictine values, to the love and support from our friends, the sisters, bosses, professors, faculty and family and the knowledge of our courses taken here at Saint Ben’s. So now we are to spread it to the world, don’t keep it for yourself. “Share everything and Luc si Vestra” “Let your light shine!”