The University of Santo Tomas held its virtual Baccalaureate Mass for Class 2021 on July 23, 2021 at the Santisimo Rosario Parish, with the Rector, Very Rev. fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., PhD, as Main Celebrant and Homilist.
Importance of being grateful
In his homily, fr. Ang emphasized the importance of gratitude and contentment as keys to happiness and success for the young professionals. “Unless we have a sense of contentment, we will never reach fulfillment because we will become insatiable. Fulfillment comes from being well with oneself, accepting graciously where we are, so that we don’t strive to be somewhere else where we are not supposed to be and we end up getting frustrated,” the Rector said, harking back to the old idiom of “keeping up with Joneses” and asking Thomasians to abandon such mentality.
Moreover, fr. Ang underscored that each and every graduate belonging to this class deserved recognition, thus reiterating their rights to claim this day for themselves as a testament of success in their academic journey. “You are all achievers—not just the honor graduates. You all deserve to be recognized. This is your day. Don’t believe the person who calls you a loser. Nobody is born a loser; all of us are meant to succeed in our life and in our career,” fr. Ang said.
The Lord’s plan
Fr. Ang also underscored the Lord’s imageries in two highlights of the Gospel about the Parable of the Sower: a) the failure of the seeds to grow in a hostile environment; b) the success of the seeds to grow. “The scenes of failure are side swept by the final scene of success, which might not have come had the sower decided to stop with every obstacle along the way,” he said. “Kung babalikan ninyo ang nakaraan, hinanda lang pala kayo ng Panginoon para sa araw na ito,” fr. Ang added, reminding them that hardships were temporary and were normal chapters of the process.
Thrive at your own pace
However, fr. Ang reminded the graduates to express humility when they get a taste of success. “Achievement does not entitle you to get everything you want,” he said.
The graduates must grow and thrive at their own pace and keep their focus on their own road without comparing themselves to others’ journey, according to fr. Ang. “We better give up the attitude of keeping with the Joneses—or comparing yourself with what your neighbor has. Can we be satisfied for once? Just for today? Just for now? Unless we have a sense of contentment, we will never reach fulfillment because we will become insatiable,” fr. Ang said.
“Fulfillment comes from being well with oneself, accepting graciously where we are, so that we don’t strive to be somewhere else where we are not supposed to be and we end up getting frustrated,” fr. Ang continued. “After contentment comes happiness. Unhappy people are all those who always grumble all day long, every day, every night. Joyful people are magnetic people. They attract a lot of good vibes and exude positive energy with their keen ability to appreciate things and people,” fr. Ang said.
Alma Mater’s embrace on your return in España
Lastly, fr. Ang said gratitude was a very rare virtue that involved not just the brain but the memory of the heart, mapping out the process stemmed from God’s grace, which will eventually lead to blessedness. ”Your power must have an origin, and that origin is Grace—God,” he said. “Do not be afraid to fail, for success is not far behind. Be satisfied with your lot in order for you to be happy. Be happy in order for you to be grateful. Be grateful in order for you to be blessed more,” fr. Ang said.
“In this very demanding time in world history where hunting for a job is almost the same as defying gravity. Wherever your destiny may take you, remember your alma mater. Here in España, she stands with her gates open to her sons and daughters,” the Rector emphasized said.
Class 2021 is composed of over 2,000 graduates in the various degree programs and over 3,000 graduates/completers in the basic education level.