On Saturday, May 11, Father Robert Spitzer delivered the Christendom College commencement address to 127 graduates. On the same day, he was awarded the college’s St. Peter Canisius Award for “Distinguished Service to the Church through the Teaching of Theology and Catholic Doctrine.”
Also included in the college’s 40th commencement ceremonies were Diocese of Arlington Bishop Michael Burbidge and Humanae Vitae expert, Dr. Janet Smith. Bishop Burbidge celebrated the Friday afternoon Baccalaureate Mass while Dr. Smith made remarks at the dinner that followed and was awarded an honorary doctorate.
Words of wisdom and advice from Fr. Spitzer
Fr. Spitzer began his remarks by acknowledging the power and eternal value of a Christendom education evident in the beautifully articulated reflections of graduate Milanna Fritz in her salutatory address.
He offered the graduates three pieces of advice based on his years of Catholic education, both as a student and as a teacher. Readers already familiar with Fr. Spitzer’s work will recognize the four levels of happiness as the touchstone for his remarks.
Fr. Spitzer pointed out one of the most damaging attitudes prevalent in our culture: the temptation to compare ourselves to others as a measure of our happiness. He explained that this could lead to a defensive and negative attitude towards other people and God, to self pity, and ultimately might result in depression.
However, Fr. Spitzer pointed out that we can shift our focus from a “comparative” attitude to a “contributive” attitude. Secondly, we can and should look for the “good news in others.” Too often we tend to focus on the negative traits of others instead of recognizing that they are destined for eternity and beloved by God.
Sharing his final words of wisdom, Fr. Spitzer listed the three things he reminds himself of (and says out loud) every morning:
- Today, I am going to look for ways to make a positive, optimum difference for my family, friends, community, the workplace, and ultimately for the kingdom of God.
- Today, I am going to look for the good news in others and not focus on the bad news.
- Today, I am going to put Jesus at the center of my life, He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
“I assure you of this: these three pledges every morning will bring you sanity, they’ll bring you salvation, they’ll bring you protection from your spiritual enemy, the devil, and they’ll bring you tremendously good relationships, tremendously good leadership potential and, at the end of the day, a happy life—not just happy in this world, but happy in the Beatific Vision with our Lord Jesus Christ and with one another in Heaven forever. Congratulations again to you, the Class of 2019.”
Listen to Fr. Spitzer’s entire commencement address below:
Cover Image: Christendom College
Armed with a B.A. in Philosophy and a minor in science, Ciskanik landed in a graduate nursing program. With the support of her enthusiastic husband, an interesting career unfolded while the family grew: a seven year stint mostly as a neurology nurse, 15 years as a homeschooling mom of six, and a six year sojourn as curriculum developer and HS science teacher (which included teaching students with cognitive differences). These experiences added fuel to her lifelong interest in all things related to God’s creation and the flourishing of the human spirit—which has found a new home on the Magis blog.