What an inspiring speech!

Father Mike Schmitz delivered the commencement speech for the 2024 graduating class at Ave Maria University in May.

He opened his speech by emphasizing the graduates' "remarkable" hard work:

"Every act that is remarkable is a result of many acts of sacrifice. And this is remarkable--you are remarkable. And that comes at the price of a lot of sacrifice."

Father Mike then discusses God the Father's love for us but says hardships and sufferings are for the sanctification of our souls. Father Mike encourages the students in perseverance, saying "God wants more for us than we want for ourselves."

"God actually knows what it is to be a good parent. And a good parent is not one who takes their child out of suffering or out of pain. A good parent is not one who paves the way and makes life easier. The good parent is the one who says, 'My job is to make my child stronger.'"

"Your faith doesn't grow when you're in comfort," Father Mike reiterates. "Your faith doesn't grow when you're in your living room. Your faith doesn't grow when you're in a place without opposition. Your faith grows when you're in the wilderness. Your faith actually has the opportunity to grow when you're bush-whacking.

"And saying every with every step, 'Okay God, this is an opposition. This is an obstacle. You're making me more and more the person I'm supposed to be, God.' Why? Because God wants more for you than you want for yourself."

Father Mike then encourages the students to trust God--that trials will help faith grow and ultimately lead to greater sanctity.

"[Bishop Daniel Felton of the Diocese of Duluth, Minn.] always reminds us that 'God only gives us enough light for one more step.' And that's what God has done for you. He's giving you enough light for one more step."

Father Mike then tells the heroic story of Saint Maximilian Kolbe.

Kolbe sacrificed his life at Auschwitz after 10 men were chosen to be starved to death. The guards chose a husband and father, but Maximilian offered to take the man's place.

"Some of you will be called to pour yourself out all that once like Maximilian Kolbe--to give witness to the Lord Jesus Christ by your death in martyrdom. My guess is he will ask some of you to do that. Most of us, he'll say you could just pick your spot and pour yourself out drop by drop by drop every day because that's life in the wilderness."

Father Mike then explains that the students' university work prepared them for life in the world.

"The rest of this is going to be a battle and so we all need to be more courageous. Why? Because life takes courage. Because life in the Promised Land – even in your vocation--it takes courage. Why? Because love takes courage. And every one of you is called the love."

Father Mike then concluded by reminding the students that "God wants more from you and more for you than you want for yourself."

"Remember, to just take one step at a time. Remember to pour yourself out. Remember that love is just showing up. And remember simply do the things you've learned and you will be blessed."

Listen to Father Mike Schmitz's full graduation speech below:

Click here if you cannot see the video above.

Father Mike Schmitz’s “Bible in a Year” and “Catechism in a Year” podcasts began airing nationwide on Jan. 15. via EWTN Radio.

Nationally, the podcasts air back-to-back in a one-hour time slot beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

Local radio affiliates who add the show to their lineup have the freedom to shift the program to a time that’s best for their audience. Listeners are therefore encouraged, EWTN says, to check the schedule of the EWTN affiliate in their area or listen for free on the EWTN app. More than 600 domestic and international AM and FM radio affiliates carry EWTN’s Catholic programming.

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