Graduations abound at the moment. Tonight is our 8th grade graduation. It is the culmination of the all of the years that the students have spent within the walls of St. Sebastian Parish School. We write it all down on a piece of paper and hand it to them. Basically it says that we have given them all we’ve got, they completed it satisfactorily, and now they don’t need this educational institution anymore. It’s time for them to move on.
Graduation does not exist in the religious realm though sometimes it seems as though it does. For example, a student will spend eight or more years in our programs learning about the faith at the end of which there is a grand ceremony at which they are confirmed and there is a party. It kinda feels as though you are graduating from that program and now you are done with the course of studies.
But to think that way would be a tragedy. It would be a tragedy in this way: Two people fall in love. They learn about each other. They woo each other. (Is that really the way woo is spelled?) There is a proposal, a marriage ceremony, and a grand party. Are they done? Now that the couple has achieved marriage does that mean that the leaning, wooing, and growing love are now over? Absolutely not. Neither is it that when one is baptized, eucharized, or confirmarized (I made that up) is one done learning about, growing in, praying to, or being in the service of God. It is not a completed course of studies from which you move on, it is a way of life into which you enter and are trusted to keep growing more deeply in love.
You can graduate from a collected body of knowledge, you cannot graduate from a relationship with God.
Go forth in Christ.