Yes, new graduates, the world is your oyster, you can do anything you set your mind to, go get 'em, tiger... and other such cliches. What formula is truly the key to your success? What lessons will bring you great joy and satisfaction in your work and in your life? Word On Fire contributor Fr. Michael Cummins offers this "commencement address." And his answer to those great questions? It's all in "the family."
“Jesus, Mary and Joseph” or “J.M.J.” – it is a traditional Catholic expression, a short and succinct prayer to the Holy Family. As this school year comes to a close and as college graduates look to the next step in their lives, I believe this short prayer is a good one to know and is worthy of reflecting upon and can offer a wealth of wisdom for a graduate.
I would like to begin with St. Joseph and the insight that his life and example have to offer. There are two lessons that St. Joseph has to give the graduate – the value of work and humility. There is not much shared about Joseph in the Gospels. We know that he was a carpenter, a man acquainted with the demand of work, and that he was a good and righteous man – he sought to spare Mary injury in his decision to “divorce her quietly” but when instructed by an angel in a dream to take Mary into his home, he trusted, even in the face of the embarrassment it would cause.
I have heard it said from a number of different quarters that the current young generation of Americans will probably be the first generation to make less money than their parents. This is not necessarily a reflection on the talents and abilities of the generation itself but rather the reality of the economic and societal cards they have been dealt. Rather than lamenting this turn of events, I wonder if there might, in fact, be a silver lining in the midst of the dire economic clouds. I would encourage this generation, in a special way, to look to St. Joseph as a model. This generation has witnessed the economic excess of previous generations. They are bearing more than their fair share of the burden of the short-sighted and outright selfish choices of their elders and they have also seen how their own parents after a life-time of work and saving have had their financial security rug pulled out from under them. This generation is deeply questioning “business as usual.”...