Faith and Reason, Beauty and Holiness

May 16, 2017 by

by Ryan T Anderson, Public Discourse:

We have the obligation to propose with the apostle Paul the more excellent way. And this only intensifies as you graduate today and enter a world that is simultaneously hungry for and resistant to your message.

On Saturday, May 13, Public Discourse‘s editor Ryan T. Anderson received an honorary doctorate from Franciscan University of Steubenville and delivered the commencement address. His remarks follow.

Father Sheridan, Dr. Kempton, members of the board of trustees, distinguished faculty and staff, fellow members of the great class of 2017, and the families and friends who supported you to this happy afternoon: It is a joy to share this moment with you, and an honor to address you and to become an honorary alumnus of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I must say, obtaining this doctorate has been a fair bit easier than the last one. But this one means much more to me.

To stand here and receive this honor today is of much greater ultimate importance because Franciscan’s appreciation for the work I’ve done in recent years defending unpopular truths is a signal of your willingness to stand on those same principles and to continue forming generations of students in these truths. Thank you for this honor and thank you for the great work that you do.

Of course, this university has been in the business of defending unpopular truths for many years. And you, fellow graduates, are well prepared to lend your voices—and dedicate your lives—to the cause of truth. I’ve had the great pleasure of speaking on this campus every year for the past four years. Each visit has been a delight, speaking to students who actually want to learn, and want to make a difference. Franciscan University has prepared you well. And the world needs what you have received. So as we celebrate your accomplishments over the past years as students, we must also think about what comes next. What is God asking you to do?

I’ve worked for the past 12 years as, among other things, an editor. And when people want to become writers, the first piece of advice they should receive is this: Write about what you know. I think the same thing is true for speaking: speak about what you know.

So in the time we have together this afternoon I want to speak about something I know quite intimately: my own calling in life. And I hope that my sharing a few thoughts on that will be helpful as you think about your own callings.

If we have a calling in life, it is because someone has called us. God calls each of us by name to a specific path of holiness and service to others.

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