The senior reflectors at our 2019 Graduation Masses were Emeline Brudwick and Ashley Thompson.
Their reflections can be found below!
Reflection by Emeline Brudwick at the 9:30am Mass
It’s hard to believe that the time has finally come, that this day is finally here. I can still vividly remember the blessing that the Sisters gave us on one of our first days here. I remember sitting in the first row, right over there, and being absolutely astounded by the way the sisters’ voices in song echoed off the walls of the chapel, seeming larger than life and more beautiful than anything I had ever heard. As my voice echoes off those same walls, not quite as melodically, I’m humbled and reminded by the fact that I did not get to this day alone. I’ve been surrounded by a community of friends, professors, Sisters, and fellow Bennies that have helped me discover my true passions in life.
Bennies, and family members, I want you all to just sit for a moment, and take a deep breath. This day is going to be crazy, so don’t hold your breath – lean into the chaos and know it’s got a purpose. In John’s gospel, we’re reminded of the many, many rooms in God’s house. Don’t let your mind box yourself in by thinking of an actual house – just think of a metaphorical house with metaphorical rooms. Although we are leaving the comfort and safety of St. Ben’s, we aren’t leaving the house entirely. We’re just leaving the room that we’ve been in for the last few years. We’re just moving onto the next room – one that is bigger, a bit scarier, and full of new endeavors. Make no mistake – St. Ben’s will always be home, but life is too great of an adventure to stay in one place for too long. We’ve outgrown this room, and while I am sad to leave this place that I so deeply love, it’s time to make space for the next generation of Bennies who will come after us. My little sister is going to be a Bennie next year, and I can’t wait to see how she lives out her time at St. Ben’s by standing on our shoulders. I’ve looked up to the Bennies that came before me, and I can only hope that future Bennies do the same. We’ve put in hard work to get here – be proud of the legacy that you leave.
Many of you have your first job lined up, or you’re starting a year of service or grad school soon. As we take those first steps into the real world, remember this: You are never alone. God isn’t going to leave you, and let you figure out how to get to that next room, that next place, that next job or challenge. Verse 3 said “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you will know the way to the place where I am going.” Have faith and trust that this is true. I want you to be all in when I say that there’s an exact plan specifically made for you and you alone. We’ve all been given these incredible gifts, and we aren’t supposed to acknowledge them and then tuck them away in our back pockets when we get into the real world. Use your gifts to serve others and serve God – be passionate about what you’re good at, and opportunities will come up where you never thought they were possible. God’s plan is for you to be happy, so I want you to take all of the joy you’re feeling today and remember it when you question what plan is in store for you. Trust that there is a plan. I want you to trust and rely on God in the same way that you relied on God to pass that chemistry test. Goodness knows we didn’t pass those on our own.
These past four years have given you the strength and confidence to go and live out God’s word in your everyday life. Yeah, it’s going to be scary. Actually, it’s going to be terrifying. But take heart and know that your Bennie sisters will always be there to catch you if you fall. Takes risks, grapple with those hard questions, and remember your roots here at St. Ben’s. Have faith and trust that God has a plan for you, and that faith will bring you wherever your heart desires. Congrats, Bennies! I can’t wait to see where God takes you next.
Reflection by Ashley Thompson at the 11:00am Mass
Do not let your hearts be troubled.
As we reflect on our years at Saint Ben’s, this is easier said than done – am I right? Think back to the challenges that threatened your will to get to this point – the overwhelming course loads, financial strains, challenging relationships, homesickness; the list goes on. Despite those challenges, we are here, hours away from becoming college graduates. So, we gather here this morning to give God thanks for giving us the strength to persevere, for opening our hearts and mind to his Word and for trusting us to be vessels of his love.
In the first reading, Peter calls us to come to Jesus, the living stone, as we are chosen and precious to him. If we are chosen, this means God has a plan for each of our lives. Some of us are probably still trying to figure out that plan, but our call is to draw near to God, to trust his will for us and to gain strength from his love. As the living stone, Jesus is the source, the foundation of our faith. As living stones, we are integral contributors to his Church, so God places us exactly where he needs us to be. We may not recognize this right away, but we have security in God’s timing and in his plan for our lives. So do not let your hearts be troubled. In times of fear or uncertainty, recall that wonderful promise in Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” All we have to do is present our requests to God.
It is our time here at St. Ben’s that reminds us that we are not in this alone. In moments of doubt, one of my greatest sources of comfort has been knowing that I’ve had a community praying on my behalf. The beauty of being a part of a spiritual community is that we can rely on the faith of our fellow living stones – family members, professors, advisors, the monastic community, and our Bennie sisterhood. As we go forth into the world, let us remain steadfast in our faith and continue to uphold each other in prayer and love.
Lord, We thank you for our intellectual and spiritual development fostered by our St. Ben’s community.
As you take us on our various paths, help us to be faithful living stones, as we build your kingdom here on Earth. Help us to be living examples of the Benedictine values in our new communities. Whatever challenges we face, strengthen us to trust in your will for our lives. Give us a heart that finds comfort in your presence and the wisdom to seek peace and pursue it.
We ask these things in your name. Amen.