Gifts from the Internet
It’s graduation time. My sister and husband (graduated the same year, same place) had George Foreman as their commencement speaker. He delivered the expected all-my-money-is-proof-that-I’m-blessed spiel. Sad day for liberal arts schools everywhere. Though my husband likes to retell the part where he said, “You went into college as boys and girls and now you’re coming out as men.” My other sister and mom (graduated two years later, same place) had an amazing army surgeon sister whose speech I wish was recorded somewhere. My year (same place, two more years later, just me this time), we had Fr. Rosica from Salt and Light Ministry. I don’t actually remember his speech, but I was also was coming off a roller coaster semester of wedding planning, thesis-writing, and all-nighter after all-nighter.
Here’s my roundup of favorite commencement addresses:
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
And so you must refuse to accept the common delusion that a career is an adequate context for a life. The logic of success insinuates that self-enlargement is your only responsibility, and that any job, any career will be satisfying if you succeed in it. But I can tell you, on the authority of much evidence, that a lot of people highly successful by that logic are painfully dissatisfied. I can tell you further that you cannot live in a career, and that satisfaction can come only from your life. To give satisfaction, your life will have to be lived in a family, a neighborhood, a community, an ecosystem, a watershed, a place, meeting your responsibilities to all those things to which you belong.
The Christian must not be an absentee citizen in this world under pretext of preparing for the next world, for the kingdom of heaven is being prepared for from this world. As the Second Vatican Council puts it: “The expectation of a new earth must not weaken but rather stimulate our concern for cultivating this one….Earthly progress must be carefully distinguished from the growth of Christ’s Kingdom. Nevertheless, to the extent that the former can contribute to the better ordering of human society, it is of vital concern to the kingdom of God” (Gaudium et Spes, 43).
Christina Valenzuela (one of my new favorite bloggers!)
My wish, however, is that no one comes up and asks you: “What are your plans after graduation?” My wish for you is that someone asks, “How has Harvard shaped your life?”
Pope Benedict XVI (not a commencement speech but might as well be one)
You all know what it is like when you meet someone interesting and attractive, and you want to be that person’s friend. You always hope they will find you interesting and attractive, and want to be your friend. God wants your friendship. And once you enter into friendship with God, everything in your life begins to change. As you come to know him better, you find you want to reflect something of his infinite goodness in your own life. You are attracted to the practice of virtue. You begin to see greed and selfishness and all the other sins for what they really are, destructive and dangerous tendencies that cause deep suffering and do great damage, and you want to avoid falling into that trap yourselves. You begin to feel compassion for people in difficulties and you are eager to do something to help them. You want to come to the aid of the poor and the hungry, you want to comfort the sorrowful, you want to be kind and generous. And once these things begin to matter to you, you are well on the way to becoming saints.
People (some living, some dead) that I think would be excellent commencement speakers: Alice McDermott, Jean Vanier, Melissa Musick, Paul Kalinithi, Stratford Caldecott, Franz Wright, Sigrid Undset, Louise Cowan, Brendan Gleeson, Elizabeth Corey, Jaroslav Pelikan, Julian of Norwich and my grandma.
I had this intense craving for chicken and beer on Saturday night so my husband made chicken tenders which were wonderful and accompanied by not homemade sweet potato fries (I’ve tried making them and can never get them crispy no matter how much cornstarch I use), and kale, cherry tomato, and goat cheese salad. Also, if you don’t like beer but want to, Shiner’s prickly pear is a good starter beer. (It should be known that I’ve been on “starter beers” for at least the past two years. The closest thing I got to beer before that was sickly sweet American made cider.)
We had a TON of leftover chicken tenders, so the next morning it was deemed necessary to have chicken and waffles. We shamelessly bought the eggo kind since we don’t have a waffle maker. (I really want one, though, because I have this dream of celebrating Talk Like a Poirot Day with Belgian waffles, tisane, fake mustaches, and binge watching David Suchet. And how is that supposed to happen without a waffle maker?)
I may be breakfast’s number one fan and now that I’m not rushing out the door at 7am to submit myself to the daily death of commuting, I pretty much always eat a breakfast too luxurious to justify for a weekday. Do I care? Not really. Some hits this week: Chocolate chip brioche is yummers on its own, but drizzling it with cajeta has been ridic. Also eggs cooked in pesto and marinara with fresh mozzarella.
More cravings for chicken and beer later in the week resulted in oven-fried Korean chicken tacos with more sweet potato fries and beer. I added basil to the toppings on the tacos and it added a beautiful depth of flavor.
A question on my mind that maybe you have an answer for:
Why is bilocation a miraculous occurrence and not a gift given to every mother? Cause I could definitely use ten extra hours in my week to get things done.
Happy Trinity Sunday! And feast of St. Rita–one of my faves!