Truth is liberating. The unhappiness of so much of postmodern life strikes the well-taught Catholic as a true sadness, one that comes, not from the inevitable sorrows of life in this vale of tears, but from life in the sandbox of self-absorption: the sandbox in which the object of worship is the golden calf of Me, Myself, and I. As a counter-proposal, the well-taught Catholic, assuming another perhaps unexpected role, invites his or her neighbors out of the sandbox of solipsism and into the bracing, invigorating, liberating air of a life lived in conformity with those truths built into reality and into us. For all genuine human liberation is freedom in the truth of who we are and for the truth of what our eternal destiny is. All genuine human liberation flows from making our lives into the gift for others that life itself is to each of us. If you can embody that Law of the Gift in your own lives, even a jaded world will wonder, “How can you live that way?” And then you can explain: “I live that way because of the grace of God in Christ.”
“None of us gets to choose our roles, do we?” That little piece of papal wisdom is no reason, dear graduates, to avoid the challenges of vocational discernment — of discerning, through the help of grace, that unique something that God has had in mind for you from all eternity. But you can undertake that discernment through the prism of the truth, the goodness, and the beauty you have encountered here at the College of Saint Mary Magdalen. And you can do so in the calm confidence that the drama of each of our individual lives is playing within the cosmic drama of which the God of Israel and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is the producer, director, scriptwriter, and protagonist.
And there is more. For because we have seen the ultimate truth of what God intends for humanity in the Resurrection we celebrate in this Eastertide, we may know, however challenging the times, that, in the end, the story is a not a cosmic tragedy, but a divine comedy, and that between now and the drama’s climax, we are called to live, not in noble stoicism, but in the pentecostal joy that comes from the fire of divine love.
Godspeed on your journey.
— George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center. His new book is Evangelical Catholicism: Deep Reform in the 21st-Century Church.