Skip to comments.ARISE, REJOICE, GOD IS CALLING YOU (Cardinal Arinze's Commencement Address at Georgetown)
Posted on 05/29/2003 7:05:14 AM PDT by eastsider
(Commencement Address at Georgetown University,
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 17, 2003)
1. Serious Religion leads to lasting Joy.
My dear graduands, at this turning point in your lives, it is helpful to keep to essentials. One of them is to locate in what happiness consists. Everyone wants to be happy. Every human being desires lasting joy.
True happiness does not consist in the accumulation of goods: money, cars, houses. Nor is it to be found in pleasure seeking: eating, drinking, sex. And humans do not attain lasting joy by power grabbing, dominating others, or heaping up public acclaim. These three things, good in themselves when properly sought, were not able to confer on Solomon, perfect happiness. And they will not be able to confer it on anyone else! (cf. Eccles1:2-3; IIKing11;1-8; Mt20:24-28; IJn 2:15-16).
Happiness is attained by achieving the purpose of our earthly existence. God made me to know him, to love him, to serve him in this world and to be happy with him for ever in the next. St. Augustine found this out in his later age after making many mistakes in his youth. He then cried out to God: "You have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you" (St. Aug. Conf. I, 1). My religion guides and helps me towards this. My Catholic faith puts me in contact with Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth and the life (cf. Jn14:6). Gods grace helps me to live on earth in such a way as to attain the purpose of my earthly existence.
My dear graduands, allow your religion to give your life its essential and major orientation. In our lives. religion is not something marginal, peripheral, additional, optional. My Catholic faith gives meaning and a sense of direction to my life. It gives it unity. Without it my life would be like an agglomeration of scattered mosaics. It is my religion, for example, that inspires my profession, that teaches me that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving (cf. Acts20:35), that helps me to appreciate that to reach the height of my growth potential, I must learn to give of myself to others as I practise my profession as lawyer, doctor, air hostess, congress member or priest (Vatican II: Gaudium et Spes, 24).
Allow your religion to give life, joy, generosity and a sense of solidarity to your professional and social engagements. In a world of religious plurity, you will of course learn to cooperate with people of other religious convictions. True religion teaches not exclusion, rivalry, tension, conflict or violence, but rather openness, esteem, respect and harmony. At the same time you should keep intact your religious identity, your distinction as a witness of Jesus Christ.
2. Thank God for the Gift of the Family.
As I see joy and just pride reflected on the faces of the parents and friends of these graduands, I think of Gods goodness in giving the gift of the family to humanity.
It is God himself who willed that a man and a woman should come to establish a permanent bond in marriage. Marriage gives rise to the family. In this fundamental cell of society, love grows. There the exercise of sexuality has its correct locus. There human maturity is nurtured. There new life utters its first cry and later smiles at the parents. There the child is first introduced to religion. Is it any wonder that the Second Vatican Council called the family "the church of the home" (cf. Lumen Gentium, 11)?
In many part of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce.
But the family has friends too. It is nourished and lubricated by mutual love, strengthened by sacrifice and healed by forgiveness and reconciliation. The family is blessed with new life, kept united by family prayer and given a model in the Holy Family of Nazareth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Christian families are moreover blessed by the Church in the name of Christ and fed by the sacraments, especially the Holy Eucharist. It was beautiful that at the beatification of Mr. and Mrs. Luigi and Maria Beltrame-Quattrocchi in St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican City on October 21, 2001, three of their children were present.
May God bless all the families here present and grant our graduands who will one day set up their own families his light, guidance, strength, peace and love.
3. The Patrimony of St. Ignatius of Loyola.
We rejoice with the Jesuit Community that set up and keeps up Georgetown University. In the patrimony of St. Ignatius of Loyola, love of the Church is prominent. It is a joy, an honour and a responsibility to belong to the one, holy catholic and apostolic Church. This Mystical Body of Christ, this largest of all religious families that ever existed, is the divinely-set up family for all peoples, languages and cultures. This Church has produced Saints from every state of life, men and women who, open to Gods grace, have become signs of hope. But this same Church also has sinners in her fold. Far from discouraging and rejecting them, the Church offers them hope, wholesome Gospel teaching, saving sacraments and the invitation to abandon to food of pigs, make U-turn and return to the refreshing joy of the Fathers house, like the prodigal son (cf. Lk15:14-24).
This Church has inherited from Christ, the Apostles and her living tradition, a non-negotiable body of doctrine on faith and morals. The tenets of the Catholic faith do not change according to the play of market forces, majority votes or opinion polls. "Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever" (Heb13:8). This is the Church which St. Ignatius invites all his spiritual children to love and cherish. This is the Church to which we have the joy to belong.
My dear graduands, parents and the Jesuit Community of Georgetown, arise, rejoice, because God is calling us. And may Gods light, peace, grace and blessing descend on you and remain with you always.
Frances Card. ARINZE
May 17, 2003
God has blessed us with Cardinal Arinze.
"the phrase "mocked by homosexuality" had a strike line through it "
So much for free speech and the American way! I'm sure you've heaerd (as I have) that you are closeminded and narrow and a lemming because you espouse what the Magisterium teaches. But the "strike through" done by the Dean of Students at Georgetown shows that there is only one school of thought permitted by the liberal/heterodox mind and there is no room for what the Church has always taught if it is not in line with political correctness --- in fact, you can't even read what the Church teaches!
I wonder if this speech is going to be published in the Georgetown student newspaper or various Georgetown publications... and if it is, will the speech be doctored or printed honestly and in its full content?
Arinze has either been applauded or excoriated for this speech - but not excoriated as much as he might have been if he was white, I think. Put Bruskewicz or maybe Egan in this situation and given the same speech in the same school, I think the outcry would have been much larger.
In truth, I don't mind the extremes except when they denegrate the Chair of Peter, selectively, of course!
Speaking of religious plurality... last night I had a meeting with the VOTF pastoral nun at my parish regarding a baccalauriate breakfast the parish is doing for the 50 members of the graduating HS class who are also parishioners (I am the cook & bottlewasher for this event). As an aside, out of that 50, only 6 are coming and the pastoral nun can't figure out why. You know I keep trying to tell her in a nice way ;-)
Anyhow... she asked me about my husband (who she's never met because he of course doesn't go to Mass) and I told her that he is an agnostic brought up Lutheran and I hope and pray that he will someday join the Catholic Church and discover the fullness and truth of Catholicism. I told her I say a lot of rosaries and pray for him and try to be a "shining light" and all that. She thought for a moment and advised me to tell him that there is a nice Evangelical Lutheran parish in the next town over that he might be interested in! She said she has been there and they have a nice congregation.
In keeping with this thread, I have a real strong feeling she probably would have walked out on Cardinal Arinze's speech!
It's sad that this speech has to be characterized as "hard hitting" when it's unremarkable, orthodox, Catholic doctrine.
I must learn to give of myself to others as I practise my profession as lawyer, doctor, air hostess, congress member or priest.I found this particular phrase amusing. First, it sounded to me as though the Cardinal was trying to be PC by avoiding the sex-specific "stewardess," but used the sex-specific "hostess" instead. On the other hand, based on the spelling of "practise" and "honour" elsewhere in the address, it may be that "hostess" is the English term and "stewardess" the American. I'm am certain, however, that "congress member" is totally PC.
On a more serious note, I enjoyed the parallelism between the second paragraph under No.1 of the Cardinal's address and Book I of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics.
[From the Cardinal's address:]
True happiness does not consist in the accumulation of goods: money, cars, houses. Nor is it to be found in pleasure seeking: eating, drinking, sex. And humans do not attain lasting joy by power grabbing, dominating others, or heaping up public acclaim." These three things, good in themselves when properly sought, were not able to confer on Solomon, perfect happiness.
[From Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics:]
To judge from the lives that men lead, most men, and men of the most vulgar type, seem (not without some ground) to identify the good, or happiness, with pleasure; which is the reason why they love the life of enjoyment....
A consideration of the prominent types of life shows that people of superior refinement and of active disposition identify happiness with honour; for this is, roughly speaking, the end of the political life....
The life of money-making is one undertaken under compulsion, and wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else. And so one might rather take the aforenamed objects to be ends; for they are loved for themselves. But it is evident that not even these are ends; yet many arguments have been thrown away in support of them. Let us leave this subject, then.
In Britspeak, the people they elect to their chief legislative body are "Members of Parliament". I think he is carrying that usage over to form the term "Congress Member", rather than being PC.I think you're on to something there. Thank you!
Cardinal Arinze got it right: "True religion teaches not exclusion, rivalry, tension, conflict or violence, but rather openness, esteem, respect and harmony. At the same time you should keep intact your religious identity, your distinction as a witness of Jesus Christ."
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