What would you say?

A message from Vice-President Fr Anthony Casamento csma:

The other week as I was listening to the occasional address as I attended one of our Sydney graduations, I wondered what I would say to our graduating students if given the chance. I think I would advise them like so … believe. Believe in God. Believe in other people. And believe in yourself.

I'm not sure how much your education and upbringing has prepared you for the question of faith. By its nature, faith is a squirrelly sort of concept. It doesn't lend itself to assessment marks. Faith isn't something that's forced on you by the facts. You have a choice. You can choose to believe, or not to believe. You can make the leap of faith. Or stay put with your feet firmly planted in the rational world.

Here's my advice, jump!

If you're going to say you believe in God, then believe in God and live your life as if you do so. Go to religious services, be a part of a faith community that ponders the meaning of life and the relationship of humanity and God. And, even more so, live out your faith. This means doing the right thing. It means taking care to help others. It means having an ethical framework within which you make moral choices. And it means believing in people.

Sure, you can choose the safe route and be distrustful. You can keep friends, family and the person you love at arm's length so they can't really hurt you. But this is a wasteful way to go through life. You're wasting the only life you have. You can't really find out who you are and what you can do with your life if you stay hidden inside a fortress.

When it comes to people, leap!

Trust people. Be open with people. Talk about what you feel, about what you think, about your beliefs. Be yourself. Believe in yourself. The more you are yourself, the more those around you will be open with you. And the better you'll come to understand them and enjoy being with them. The more you are yourself, the more you come to understanding who you are and who you are becoming. This will lead you down roads and through experiences that you could never dream of.

Of course, when you do this, you'll get hurt at times. A business colleague may take advantage of you. Someone you love may cheat on you. A friend may abuse your trust. Yes, bad things can and will happen. And there will be those who may tell you that it's your own fault for trusting others.

Yet, as Gwendolyn Brooks writes in her poem Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress – Toward:

"Say to them

say to the down-keepers

the sun-slappers

the self-soilers

the harmony-hushers

Even if you are not ready for day it cannot always be night."

That ‘night’ is part of life. Accept it. Deal with it. And have faith that your ‘day’ will be brighter.

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