I’ve done this before – exactly eighteen times this summer. I’ve been here and experienced this rite of passage so many times that I’m becoming emotionally unattached or emotionally objective. I have become neither cynical nor indifferent – far from it. Maybe it’s tiredness on my part, or perhaps the desire to move on. Well, I’d better tell any possible reader out there in cyber land that I’m talking about school graduation masses and graduation ceremonies.
All the meditation practices I do instil in me the importance of living in the now, of being present in the moment, of observing and being compassionate. In so doing one becomes more objective, more focused, more aware, more awake to the moment and all that happens in it. In this way, one becomes more unattached and more independent and freer in spirit. Far from being indifferent one becomes open to life as it is in the here and now. The emotions of the moment become less intense and overwhelming, while real compassion and empathy reign in one’s heart and soul. For what it’s worth, that is the way I felt tonight. This is the end of school for many here and the beginning of their workaday or college lives. Perhaps it’s even an end for me as I face into some interviews over the coming weeks. And I don’t feel in any sense emotional, though many around me were.
In many ways, I have developed this sense of ease and peace, what you might call a still pointed-ness as a result of the 15 counselling sessions I have attended so far. Combine these with the meditation and the keeping of a journal and analysis of my dreams and you get a more centred and self-contained being.
I wish all the present lads from sixth year well. I wish them the best of everything for their lives. I wish them health and happiness first, and then enough money and goods of this earth to keep them satisfied and to keep their families happy. And as for my future, who knows? I feel like the late great nineteenth century Cardinal and theologian, John Henry Newman, that “I have not sinned against the Light,” and that my God “has a work for me to do” that I have not discovered yet, but am on the way or in via to discovering! Newman’s light was his Lord Jesus Christ while mine is the vibrant and newly discovered dreams of my soul. Soul work is the most interesting type of work any human can do, i.e., the attempt to get to know the real self, the real core of what it means to be uniquely you.
And so another year ends and in so ending another has begun. Such is life – the interminable cycle of things. The theme the boys chose for their graduation mass and ceremony was “Wish you were here” after the eponymous song sung originally by Pink Floyd and more recently by Christy Dignam of Aslan fame. Well done on such a lovely rendition of such a lovely song. What a marvellous theme and what a brilliant homily by our good friend, former student and former teacher – Fr Finbarr Neylon. To all the lads I say “Ad multos annos!” or the same sentiments in Gaeilge, “go maire sibh an céad!” MAY YOU LIVE LONG, FULL AND FULFILLING LIVES!