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Good morning and welcome to our Third Mission Day at Holy Angel University. For the new members of our university community, Mission Day is the day each year when we all come together to make a difference not only to improve our community, but also to deepen our ties to our neighbors and have fun working together to do good! At Holy Angel, it coincides with the university president’s birthday – a reminder that every new day is a blessing from the Almighty, blessings that we receive not because of our merits but because of His infinite love and mercy.

In his latest apostolic exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, Pope Francis wrote at length about the universal call to holiness in the Church. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves. Mission Day reminds us that, in the midst of our own challenges, there are people out there who are in more vulnerable states of life.

Not being well myself, it led me to contemplate on the question, “Why would an all-loving, all-powerful God allow suffering?” in our lives and in our society. God does not cause suffering as a retribution for sin. This simply does not fit the God of the Gospels, the father of the prodigal son. God allows suffering because love requires freedom and because, in an imperfect world, we can pursue virtue, a better world, and heaven through the opportunities given to us by suffering. A life of meaning requires suffering and opportunities for people to help each other and need each other. And when we do suffer and help alleviate our neighbor’s suffering, we benefit from it by growing in faith, humility, compassion, and courage – all of which lead to our eternal life with Him and help us to help others toward their own salvation. When we take this attitude, we transform our suffering into prayer. We transform the active work we do for our neighbors into prayer as well.

This brings me to my final point. We have a Father God who has a plan for each of us; we may not enjoy undergoing the trials and tribulations associated with His plan but our faith tells us that His plan is always perfect.

And so, I wish to thank all of you in advance for your participation in Mission Day. This is a day for us to truly live our mission of being persons of conscience, competence, and compassion. Let us lift to the Lord our service to others this day … and, for my last announcement, at 1:00 p.m. today, the campus will be closed and we can all take a rest. Laus Deo semper!

Date Posted: 06-18-2018