Fr. Ulysses S. Cabayao, SJ delivers a part of the interfaith invocation during the 2017 Commencement Exercises last 1 April at the Martin Hall, Ateneo de Davao University. Photo by Dave Daryanani.

 

Finally, Lord, finally.

After all the countless mornings that we have struggled to wake up for Professor X’s class for reasons–imaginable and unimaginable, valid and concocted, physiological and psychosomatic–You have roused us today from our slumber, and given us both the reason and enthusiasm to come to the Ateneo before 7AM.

 

Finally, Lord, finally.

After diligently preparing and furiously cramming for all those quizzes, projects, and exams, You have led us to value magis, hard work, and doggedness in the pursuit of our goals.

After defying sleep with gallons of coffee and overcoming fatigue with barrels of alcohol, You have made us appreciate that managing our time well allows us to find time to rest, recuperate, and relish life better.

 

Finally, Lord, finally.

After patiently journeying with these sometimes bored, sometimes restless students; after knowing their names and listening to some of their stories and struggles, You have shared with us–university administrators, faculty, and staff–the privilege to see them here and send them off, clad in their glistening togas, brimming with everything that comes with being victorious and youthful.

 

Finally, Lord, finally.

As parents, You are giving us a respite from the worries and concerns that arise when enrollment season comes. The daily anxiety of feeding, clothing, and raising our children pales in comparison to moments like this, where we see their faces beaming. You may be relieving us of the responsibility of having to attend to their every need, but You have given us an even greater gift, the chance to unconditionally love our sons and daughters.

 

Finally, Lord, finally.

We bring before You all these graduates–their sorrows and joys, their frustrations and hopes, their nightmares and dreams, their regrets and thanksgivings. May they always recognize You not only in momentous occasions such as this one, but even in the most trivial and mundane matters of their lives as well.

 

Finally, Lord, finally.

As we rest tonight, may these young men and women remember, that aside from being sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, partners; they will be, henceforth, Ateneans at heart, fortes in fide.

 

Finally, Lord, finally.

 

Amen.