Well, dear friends, soon we shall return to Christendom, a landscape as human as those who dwell within her. I have refused to give in to the delusion that Christendom is a "bubble" of society. The idea that Christendom is a bubble is in fact a dangerous assumption. The world we dwell in is a land inhabited by sinners and sin, and while God provides his grace to abound all the more, nevertheless it must never be forgotten that Christendom too is a fallen world. Yet, God in His Mercy provides more ready means at Christendom for grace, redemption, and forgiveness with the Sacraments. However, without the work of the sacraments in our lives, the reality of sin will quickly destroy everything we hold dear: friendships, charity, anything precious all will be lost.
Note: (I use "he" in the classic English usage as a gender inclusive pronoun instead of the detestable ubiquitous he/she, or his/her, or men/women. If you have a problem with this, don't tell me for I shall call you ignorant and get very angry if you tell me I have excluded women in my talk about friendship, since that is nonsense. The use of "person" instead of "man" or "men" is also avoided, since politically correct language is ridiculous. Occaisonally I use "person" where appropriate.)
Don't presume everything is cheery and fine once you return to Christendom, and don't presume that friendship is an easy art. It requires effort, and self-sacrifice. I mean Christ gave the model of friendship. It requires you to die to yourself each day in friendship. A little at a time. And the sacrifice of self requires charity, time and patience, because each one of us is human and has his faults, yet a friend is loved despite them! Friendship is one of the most important bonds between men in a society. Don't undervalue this gift or throw the chance away to forge and strengthen your friendships. It is true that not all friendships have the same depth, but nevertheless there is genuine strength and mutual respect, and love in friendship. Deliberately and callously throwing off a friend creates a terrible rift in human society. It gives the other person deep hurt, yet it hurts you all the more although you may not realize it. Because, it is you that have made yourself poorer by throwing away the treasure of a friend. So, just think about that for awhile, and ask if your intentions are pure: is this friend loved for whom he is in himself, or for what I may gain later from this friendship. What is my real intention: to love without exspectation of nothing in return, or to love with the hope of another end? If it ain't the former, you're not doing well and it's gonna affect others.
Why did I mention this? Because we're all sinners, and we need to hear it whether we've done it or not. It's a wake-up call for everyone to examine their own conscience, and get ready for the new academic year. Think of it as a homily from Fr. Smith, a sinner himself. Whether I get into that vocation or no is no difference, I'm just opening my trap.
Why friendship, Peachy? Because friends, we are all going to be tried again this year. Yes, there is going to be suffering for us all. Why? Because God purifies our hearts with suffering, and thus tests our resolve and dedication to friendship. If the time, and effort, and cooperation with grace is not there for the friendship, God will make us unworthy of it. A friendship is worthy of suffering. Heaven is worthy of suffering. You don't deserve the things you will not suffer for. Isn't it beautiful to see that unlikely friends are brought together by suffering, and facing the suffering and trials together thus showing love, faithfulness, perseverance, despite the enormity of the trial, and the burdens. Suffering brings forth greater beauty between friends; the treasure of friendship only grows richer. Remember that.
The value you place upon friendship is up to you. Not everyone will accept an offer of friendship, and some will reject it. Fine. But at least the effort was made, and the door is open. It's a two-way street, and some don't wish it. Some may assume other things about us that are simply untrue, and show rash judgement. It hurts, yes. All we can do is forgive, let God's grace purify us, move on, and show friendliness to them. Perhaps He will convert their hearts, as He continues to convert ours.
These are my words on friendship. I'm finally going to write my two freshmen. I'll send it direct to Christendom. I'm not going to tell them simply how wonderful Christendom is. It is wonderful, but it ain't perfect. Wonderful, and perfect are not the same thing. I am wonderfully made, but not perfect. No man can escape Original Sin. I'm going to tell them what is good, and to stay away from the bad: like underage drinking and the dam, and spilling their life stories to every potential friend. (My position is that drinking in college forms bad life habits, encourages alcohol dependency, in young people who have neither the maturity, nor the internal discipline to handle it no matter how mature or smart they think they are. One reason I took the pledge is because I saw that it was making me obsessed about alcohol, which is an unhealthy thing. It ruins lives, marriages, and other people outside yourself. I'm just telling you where I stand, and you should be informed. Also, if someone tells me that it doesn't affect him at all, Socrates would tell him that the person one least knows is himself.)
Well, goodnight, and God bless! I'll see y'all in a week.