Fr. Ronald Rolheiser in his book on prayer writes the following words:
There is a beautiful text in the Gospels that captures, in stark metaphor, our need for prayer. One morning, after Simon Peter, James, and John have “toiled all night” and caught nothing – no fish, only their own emptiness – Jesus comes to them and invites them to go out to the deeper waters, to “put out into the deep.” They do, and they catch so many fish their boat begins to sink.
Years ago, each of you accepted an invitation to put out into the deep. In your chosen field or profession, you chose to explore deeper waters in search of more – more knowledge, sharper skills, deeper understanding.
Our Jesuit way of proceeding, our Xavier Way, frames an understanding of this encounter with the Divine in the depths. We see God in all things. Your explorations necessarily showed you a facet of God’s love for his creation. And your relationship deepened, as a result.
Thus, our celebration here today represents the culmination your years-long prayer. This benediction, then, simply serves as a communal capstone to the prayer that you have prayed through your many labors.
In the faith tradition that speaks best to you, I invite you now to bow your head in prayer:
Creator of all that is
Bless and approve our offering here today,
The degrees that we’ve earned as proof of our deep questing,
The fruits of our long academic, physical, and spiritual labors.
In the days, months, and years ahead,
Grant that we may come to know more clearly
The purpose that our labors, our learning, our degrees
Will play in your divine plan,
To your greater glory.
And may our boats be filled to overflowing.
In your name we pray,
- Dr. Steven Herbert, offered at Xavier University Commencement 2017
Blessing of Graduates
Let us unite our hearts in prayer
and entrust to the hands of the Lord
those who will be graduated tomorrow.
May God who began this good work in you
carry it through to completion,
enabling you to use your talents to the fullest.
May God give you the grace to make wise choices
and to be faithful to your commitments,
always confident in the support of those who love you.
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you will live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice,
oppression, and exploitation of people,
so that you will work for justice, equality, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who
suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war,
so that you will reach out your hand
to comfort them and change their pain into joy.
May God bless you with the foolishness to think
that you can make a difference in the world,
so that you will do the things
which others tell you cannot be done.
May your integrity be a gift to the world
and may the Spirit of God be with you always.
Thank You, Lord!
Thank you, Lord!
For the reaching of this end
And for this new beginning
For the joy in finished aims and goals
And the evidence of winning
Have mercy on these graduates
As they bask in their successes
Please guide them to their destinies
And show them love that blesses
We ask for You to lead each one
Through missteps they may suffer
On the road to gaining wisdom
Finding faith and hope that buffers
Please touch each heart with joy and peace
As Commencement gives promotion
And fill each life with love's increase
Of strength and deep devotion
For this eager class of graduates
Beribboned with degrees
Please bless them at this starting gate
With all the keys they'll need.
A Graduate's Prayer
As I look toward the future
Bright hope conducts this prayer,
For I know the plans You have for me
Were wrought with divine care.
Holy Spirit, lead me.
Let me run at Your command,
Yet be still and know that You are God
When trouble is close at hand.
Your Word will be a lamp for me,
A guide to light my way,
A solid place to set my feet,
A compass when I stray.
May I live my life to praise You,
Not for fortune, nor for fame,
May everything I say and do
Bring glory to Your name.
May my eyes stay fixed upon You
As I seek the way that's pure,
Tasting Your love and goodness
Sleeping and rising secure.
Planted by Your living streams
I'll delight in all Your ways,
Hidden by Your sheltering wings
With new mercies for each day.
Even in a dangerous land
When storms threaten to destroy,
At the cross I'll stand upon the Rock
My Strength, my Hope, my Joy.
A Commencement Benediction
Gracious and Loving God,
We ask, now, for your almighty hand to be upon our graduates as they and their families celebrate this grand milestone.
May they find comfort from our community’s continued embrace and support as they journey through life.
May they find strength in the excellence of their academic preparation and the long line of the Jesuit educational tradition – for with it, today, they join a nearly 500 year old network of local, national and global alumni who are their kindred companions.
Bless their lives from this day on with goodness and success.
- to stay true to their dreams for your greater glory,
- to discern what is right, good and just, and
- to use their gifts wisely and in service to others.
Empower them to walk into the future with faith, hope, and great love guided by your light so that they may use their talents to, in the words of St. Ignatius Loyola, “Go forth and set the world on fire.”
Grace be to them, grace be to us all.
- Dr. Debra Mooney, Offered 2016
A Graduation Prayer
"God, today is like any other. The sun rises. The winds blow. Rain falls. Rain does not fall. People are born. They laugh. They cry. They dance. They die. Today "chronos" time is as it has been since You gave it beginning, and will be as it is until you bring things to an end. Today is like any other.
Today is also fresh and new, and like no other day. Today is a "kairos" moment of opportunity that has come and will pass in a moment. Today is a passage from one epoch to another. Today is a gift from you. Grant grace to see it and seize it.
Today is a graduation, a passage, a completion, an inauguration. Today we pray for all those who have met the challenge and kept the faith to the commitments of their studies. Now they have a new "kairos" before them. We first offer thanks for the success of their journey. We thank for you granting them focus and direction and then strength and endurance. You created the knowledge and understanding they have mastered. You have created the curiosity and capacity for determination that led them in pursuit. All these good things came from you. Thank you.
Today we also pray for tomorrow. This graduation opens another door to another time. As you have led in the past, lead now into the future. Give them focus and clarity and a calling from you to understand their purpose and the courage to respond and step toward that purpose.
We pray in the words of scripture: 'Bless them indeed. Expand their territory. Let your hand be with them. Keep them evil, that they will not cause or experience pain.'
- Mark Herringshaw
As your classes and grading are now complete, may you strive toward excellence in all you do.
As the speeches conclude, may your voices rise up to pronounce justice and peace in the world.
As the fanfares cease, may you sing of joy, even in the dark and lonely places.
As the applause quiets, may you celebrate and lift up those around you.
As you graduate today, may your achievements grow and cause growth in your communities.
And may we all know of the overwhelming blessings of the One who created all things.
- The Rev. Jay Moyers
In Gratitude, We Pray
God of joy and hope,
We thank you for this time of graduation.
Your spirit of wisdom has empowered our hard work and discipline in such a way that our hunger for learning has been nourished with knowledge, discovery, creativity, and determination.
As we prepare to walk across the stage to receive our diplomas, let us walk in prayerful gratitude for the many blessings that have made this moment real and filled with great potential.
In gratitude, we pray for our families and the many who have sacrificed and worked to see us to this hopeful moment.
In gratitude, we pray for the professors and administrators who have challenged, cared, and crafted us along this academic journey.
In gratitude, we pray for fellow students who have taught us more about friendship, collaboration, and sharing.
God, even as we have faced challenges and accomplished much, we understand that our lives move into a new chapter where there will be more challenges to face and more will be demanded of us in order to accomplish good things. May your grace cover our anxieties and fears so that we may stay encouraged about the future.
Give us patience and hope to energize our search for work that is just and makes proper use of our gifts.
Give us courage to face the challenges of carving out a place in society where we might live in peace, service, and gratitude.
Give us strength to resist the temptations of greed, laziness, pride, and envy as we strive to do and be our best.
May your spirit guide us as we unfold the next chapters of our lives. Help us to enliven hope in the world and bring good things to Your Kingdom. And, may this celebration be a reflection of the blessings that we find in knowing and loving you. For this is the day that You have made.
We are glad and rejoice in it!
- Author Unknown