Guest of Honor, Rev Fr Martin Andama, Superior of the Spiritans in Uganda, Rev Fr Rector, Fr Vice Rector, our esteemed professors and lecturers, fellow members of class 2017, our parents, distinguished guests, students’ body, ladies and gentlemen, I salute you in the Name of Jesus Christ. I am overwhelmed by joy for it is yet another unanticipated opportunity for me to stand and say something on graduation. It is a day for us . . .
to appreciate the Almighty Lord for bringing us to this day and directing us all through our lives. Our dear parents, a special gratitude to you too for introducing us into this world, to our faith and for the unceasing daily support always rendered to us. Our professors and lecturers, the Lord has made use of you to bake us and make us ready, not only for this day, but for our entire life, a special vote of thanks to you. Our schoolmates and formattors, the contribution you have made to us in our intellectual, moral and spiritual formation is so tremendous.
To the class of 2017, we’ve made it, we ought to be grateful to the Lord for making us be, this day be and our success be. This comes as an achievement, a success, an accomplishment, characterized by fulfilment, joy, gratitude, pride and of course love. The journey of 3 years in SMS, is finished today. After finishing our philosophical studies, we are heading out, as victors, with heads high, with a conviction that we are something, we can produce something. However, not everything. We are still students in this world. Philosophy is just to guide us live well as religious, moral and intellectual beings, we take to the world just a reminder of what it has ignored most, the humanity.
The world judges normatively, ignorantly, and at times arrogantly; as such, the taste of humanity is lost, even in religious institutions. We cherish what is exhibited as external differences among us and ignore the true essence of humanity. We have ignored love, the supreme law, and have replaced it with pleasure and personal interests. It is easier to condemn than to love, to judge than sympathize, to ignore than to have concern. After touring the world in the early 1990’s Michael Jackson concurred with St. Augustine’s saying, “people in this world thirst for love and being loved.”
If we approach one another with condemnation
If we judge one another in utter selfishness
If in dealing with others, we hail our differences
We are making even the world to lose its essence. (LET US LOVE)
My classmates, and indeed all of us here, the greatest message we have to take to the world, not as a new message, but reminder is love. We should perceive clearly, look at the world and all in it as they are in practice, not simply as they should be in principle. We should not simply make others as the object of our look as J. P Sartre puts it, but let’s become part of them and their lives, just as Jesus did to us. Human beings are ends, we are not means as Immanuel Kant says.
To our brothers and professors who are still here, farewell. If you love us, you should be happy that we are going, for we came, to work and go, the work is done, let us go in peace. We are leaving with hearts full of lauds for each of you, grateful for your assistance hither and thither. Former 2nd and 1st years, we leave it to you. “If you want a rose, you have to water the thorns.” Always work hard, be resilient, be hopeful and believe, then leave the rest to God. You will always have that point in life when all you can see ahead of you is darkness:
There are times when you’ll feel deserted.
There are times when you’ll feel abandoned.
Moments you must feel very much rejected.
I prophesy, you’ll feel too dejected.
And everything will make you disappointed.
You’ll feel forsaken by friends, relatives, yourself and God. Later, you’ll reconcile with each, one by one as you come out of that low point in your life, this cycle continues all through life. Many a time, your efforts will not only be ignored, but also, be abused by those around you. I give you a solution, don’t seek for human appraisal, it will only come after death, but be justified by your good actions, conscience, results and your God. Be in light, and as such, radiate it, in darkness, no one will follow you; not even your shadow, as Adolf Hitler said.
Finally, great thanks to each and everybody who has made our day successful, may God reward you abundantly.
I remain yours fraternally
Br. Ignatius Nkoyooyo, class of 2017.