Editor’s note: On May 6, Archbishop Gomez accepted an Honorary Doctorate and delivered the commencement address at Marymount California University in Los Angeles. The following is adapted from his remarks. His complete address is available at ArchbishopGomez.com.
My friends, you are graduating from a great Catholic university in a city that is named for God’s holy angels. That gives you some sense of your identity and mission after you graduate.
I like to think about Los Angeles as “a city of saints.” It is amazing how many saints have walked these same streets that we do, and watched the sunrise and the sunset from these same beaches and mountains. How many saints have served the poor here and done works of mercy and works of love?
You are now a part of this legacy. You are called to build a city of saints in the midst of the secular city of humanity.
The reason for every Catholic university is to prepare students for life. But as Christians we define the meaning of “life” differently than others.
We know that God does not grade our lives on a curve. The test of life has only a one-word answer — and that word is love.
The saints teach us that in the evening of our lives, we will be judged by our love. Did we love God and love our neighbor? Did we use our gifts and talents to spread God’s mercy and compassion in the world? Did we love kindness and do justice?
This is how a Christian defines what it means to be a “success.”
You are graduating at a challenging moment in history. You are about to enter a world where one Christian is being killed every hour, every day — just for the “crime” of believing in Jesus. So never take your faith for granted.
You are entering an American society where every day you are going to be meeting and working with people who do not share your values, people who do not agree with you about how to live or what is right and wrong.
How are you going to carry out your mission to be Christians — to love God, to build his kingdom of mercy and compassion? How are you going to be saints in the heart of the secular city?
Sometimes I think we ask the wrong questions. We ask: What do I want out of my life? But life is not about us. The right question is: What does God want out of my life? Why did he make me?
And the answer is that we are all born for greater things. We are made for God. We are made for love.
Full story at Angelus.