By Fr. Matthew Lamb, Cardinal Maida Chair in Theology, Ave Maria University
Oh Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you have loved each and every one of us here into existence. From the first moment of our conception in our mother’s womb, our natural commencement, you have called us to an eternal friendship with You, the Creator and Redeemer of the entire universe. Now, thanks to our parents and other friends here, You are with us in our educational commencement into the next stages of our pilgrimage toward that eternal life and love with You.
It was for that glorious life in heaven that Mr. Thomas Monaghan founded Ave Maria University. The administration, faculty, and staff have assisted us as students to realize how the wisdom of our religious faith heals and heightens our reason to explore the intelligibility discovered by philosophy with its metaphysics and ethics, and by the natural and human sciences; to relish the endless forms of beauty in the liberal arts with their great literatures, music, dance, and theatre; to ponder the achievements and debates throughout the annals of historical and political scholarship; to make our own the practical skills and virtues needed in professional life.
Love of truth engenders love of genuine friendship. May the friendships we have experienced at Ave Maria in the many conversations, sports, assisting the poor – whether with the Missionaries of Charity or others in Africa, Latin America and Immokalee – may all of these friendships be taken up in our friendship with you, Jesus Christ, whom we adore in your real presence in the Eucharist.
May our Blessed Mother Mary smile down on us today as each graduate receives the diploma, may she accompany them as they commence the next stages of their journey as their Alma Mater. There will be many joys and laughter in the months and years ahead, as well as many sorrows and tears. Both the joys and the sorrows make up the mosaic of our pilgrim life until, as each of us will pass through the portals of death, we meet our Risen Lord, Jesus Christ, who by His grace will embrace us in love, along with our families and friends, wiping away all our tears, as we enter into that beatific commencement when Christ presents us all to Our Father in the Holy Spirit. Amen, Alleluia!