His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet
Archbishop of Quebec and Primate of Canada
Homily at the Baccalaureate Mass of the Holy Spirit
I, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called.
— Eph. 4:1
Dear brothers and sisters,
I feel deeply honored to preside at the Eucharist on this solemn day of Commencement 2009 at Thomas Aquinas College. I accepted readily the insistent requests of the late President Thomas Dillon, in spite of the fact that we ourselves were holding a national youth gathering in Quebec City on this same weekend. I entrust to your prayers this Eucharistic youth summit which carries forward the grace and gift of the International Eucharistic Congress, celebrated last June 2008 in Quebec City. In the wake of this great ecclesial and Eucharistic event, one can perceive a new spirit of faith and adoration among our people, especially the youth, and we hope to stimulate and promote further a revived Catholic culture in our country, now also, as elsewhere, deeply marked by secularization.
Notwithstanding the many challenges of our times, I come to you as a messenger of hope in God's Word and as a friend. For myself, I see our dear Holy Father, Benedict XVI, as model and inspiration for the whole Church. In spite of extreme and unjust attacks in recent months, Pope Benedict gives the Church and the world a testimony of love for the truth, of passion for unity, and of deep serenity in the Lord.
Dear friends, as you enter a new season in your lives, I invite you today, as we are gathered here together, to thank God for the gift of Pope Benedict, to pray for this shepherd of our flock, and to affirm deeply your love for the Church.
St. Paul begs us to lead a life worthy of our calling. Among the qualities required to be a true witness of Jesus Christ, he insists on the importance of making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. But the most important grace is the unity of faith which is an indispensable condition for deep participation in the life of God. "One faith in one Lord. One faith in one God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in all." This divine presence is palpable here in this temple dedicated to Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity.
These divine words of the Apostle of the Gentiles resonate strongly in our hearts as a divine calling. Let us welcome the message of these words with faith and hope. Let us offer ourselves to God the Father, in the spirit of Jesus, His Son, with such readiness and obedience that, as in Mary's Fiat, He will "Accept us, draw us up to Himself, into Himself, and in communion with Him, we will learn His will for us" (Benedict XVI).
"Let anyone who is thirsty come to Me, and drink. As the Scripture has said: Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water" (Jn. 7: 37-38).
From this beautiful passage of St. John's Gospel, we receive a new insight into the mystery of faith. Let us be aware that our faith is a divine faith, which means that it is a divine attitude into which we are introduced and made fruitful in Christ. The divine heart of Jesus is the wellspring of this divine-human attitude. Through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, this divine faith-attitude was transplanted by the Holy Spirit into sinful humanity, bringing peace, reconciliation, unity, and hope to all.
Let us truly believe in Him. Since we are thirsting for love, thirsting for God, let us run to Jesus and drink. This was Mother Teresa's unique recipe for holiness: to thirst with the thirsting heart of Jesus; to let the Spirit flow from her, being one heart with Jesus and Mary Immaculate.
Dear brothers and sisters, this chapel of the College of Saint Thomas Aquinas was built for the Holy Eucharist, source and summit of the Church's life. The Eucharist channels the flow of our human needs and aspirations to God the Father in Jesus Christ. Through Him, in Him, and with Him our virtues, our works, and sacrifices are taken to God's altar in heaven. By way of a divine response, the sacrifice of the Lamb channels toward the world an overflow of divine grace and mercy, bringing joy and peace to all, in and through the unity of faith, hope, and charity in the Church.
"I, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called." Each one of us has to respond to this exhortation by committing himself or herself to God in the spirit of His Son, Jesus. Apart from the choice of our personal vocation to priesthood, religious, or married life, the key word for answering our Catholic calling is "fruitfulness" in faith and love. "Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water."
Fruitfulness in Christian witness and holiness of life, fruitfulness in professional competence, fruitfulness in social commitment for a culture of life and a civilization of love, fruitfulness in serving the truth in a world dominated by secularism and hedonism, fruitfulness in being worthy of the calling which has been nurtured in each one of you in this educational setting.
Dear young people of Thomas Aquinas College, dear members of the faculty and staff, you are one body in one Spirit. Unity of faith and commitment to the truth are distinguishing marks of this young but very promising educational institution. May the Spirit of the living heart of Jesus overflow into your heart through sincere faith. May your whole life be a river of living water flowing from your union with the heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen!
“The education at Thomas Aquinas College makes men free, able to direct their own lives, and that of the community.”
– Laura Berquist (’75)
Founding Director of Mother of Divine Grace School; Author, Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum