By Sister Donna Fannon, MHSH
Last week I and other members of my high school graduation class of 1962 served as honorary marshals for this year’s graduation ceremony. This was the first time I had returned to my high school, and it was quite a treat to reconnect with some of my former classmates, share memories of the past, and wish the Class of 2012 well.
The school auditorium seemed a lot smaller than I remember it, and the library is much more high tech, but the students seemed pretty much the same—all excited to be going off to college, hoping the current economic situation will turn around, having some misgivings about being on their own and wondering what the future holds for them.
Graduation is often called commencement—a beginning. When I think of beginning something new, I am also reminded of the necessity to let go of something in the past. We cannot fully embrace the new unless we let go of what has been. Yes, the new has joys and blessings of its own, but these cannot be realized unless we let go of the past and live in the present.
Graduation is a wonderful metaphor for the spiritual journey. At each stage we rely on what we have learned in the past, but we are called to use that life experience in creative ways in the present. We have all learned that we cannot relive the past, but we can rely on lessons we learned in the past to face new and challenging situations.
From a spiritual perspective, we can remember God-with-us in the past and know that God is with us now. We also know that what is happening in our lives now will offer us wisdom in the future.
Questions for reflection:
- What are some things you have had to let go of in your life journey?
- Who are some of the people that helped you negotiate major life transitions?
- What is something you need to let go of now?
- What memories do you cherish?
- For what are you grateful?
- What grace do you need from God to move forward now?