Sunday, June 10, 2007

Words of Wisdom

Rev. Peter J. Gomes is a Professor at Harvard University. Below are excerpts from his commencement address at Augustana College:

Around this time of year I have an annoying habit of asking people, like you seniors, “Do you have a job?” You resist answering that question, but I repeat it, “Your mother and I want to know, do you have a job?” By job we don’t mean simply something that gives you a salary; I think we really mean: “Do you have a purpose? Do you have a calling? Do you have a vocation?”

I want to suggest to you that whether or not you have a job, everyone has a vocation, and that vocation is to live a life that is worth living. The best advice I can give is that which St. Paul gives us in Romans 12, where he says to the likes of you, who all look alike from here, “Be not conformed to this world.” Do not join the throng. Don’t get lost in the crowd. Don’t be a part of the cookie-manufactured college generation, but stake out for yourselves some extraordinary, maybe even eccentric, piece and place of the world, and make it your own.


r.g. lacsamana, m.d. said...

I suppose most young men and women graduating this year have never been asked that simple question. Perhaps nine out of 10, they are not prepared to answer that question either.

Oh yes, we all know what we are going to do (as doctors, lawyers, stock market whiz kids, computer nerds), but I bet we never pondered deeply beyond the "jobs" that would pay us $100 thousand or more per year. I bet further the last thing most graduates did before those ceremonial excerises was to go to those job fairs, interviews, and, for those bent on advanced studies, to make plans for their Masters or their PhDs.

Peter Gomes, for those outside Harvard, is relatively unknown. He is a Baptist minister who teaches at Harvard's College of Theology and has been pastor of the university's Memorial Church for sometime. He is famous in Cambridge for his sermons, for asking simple, yet difficult, questions like this.

The short answer to Gomes' question is, at least for most of us at that age, we don't know yet. We all want to succeed in whatever jobs or ventures we do, but Gomes thinks there is something we should aspire for beyond that success. In a materialistic world we live in, some of us may never find the answer, just cogs in the same wheel, but never standing out.

ano nino said...

All twenty-somethings believe that they think differently not only from the adults but even their contemporaries. Doc Bautista himself is proof of this. As Doc has said, in his twenties as he was graduating from UPCM, he had already decided to be different from his UP peers as Doc had decided that the Philippines was too small for his search for adventure and fulfillment.

ano nino said...

r.g. : this world has many wheels in many places. Some Filipinos become unknown cogs in some wheel in Singapore, others become unknown cogs in some wheel in Boston.

Ano nino said...

While some Italians become cogs in Mindanao.
Last updated 03:37pm (Mla time) 06/10/2007
MANILA, Philippines -- Armed men have kidnapped an Italian priest in the southern province of Zamboanga Sibugay on Sunday morning, a military official said.

Father John Carlo Bossi was snatched in Bulwan village, Payao town, where he served as parish priest, at around 9:35 a.m., said Colonel Godofredo Paderanga, civil military operations (CMO) officer of the Army's 1st Infantry Battalion.

.... Bossi, the second Italian priest to be abducted in the southern Philippines in six years.

Gregory said...

I posted earlier Bill Gates' Speech to the Harvard 2007 graduating class.

Here was Steve Jobs' speech to the 2005 Stanford graduating class.

*Connect the dots
*Love and loss

Gregory said...

Since we're at it, here's Jose Dalisay's speech in 2005 entitled "Get A Life"

"To be a UP student, faculty member, and alumnus is to be burdened but also ennobled by a unique mission - not just the mission of serving the people, which is in itself not unique, and which is also reflected, for example, in the Atenean concept of being a "man for others." Rather, to my mind, our mission is to lead and to be led by reason - by independent, scientific, and secular reason, rather than by politicians, priests, shamans, bankers, or generals."