In his commencement address to Boston College graduates, Archbishop Blase J. Cupich, of Chicago, employed an intriguing turn of phrase, urging graduates to appreciate the "givenness of life":
My young friends, fellow graduates, your capacity to appreciate the givenness, the grace of life, which marked your childhood years, has never left you. Be reminded of that today, because the world needs the hope of those who know the givenness of life. In fact, I invite you to see this entire graduation ceremony as a collective embrace by your family and friends and this Boston College community, designed to spark in you a renewed sense of the givenness of life. These are the folks who have been grace for you, in their steady and supportive presence, by the example of fidelity to their own relationships to one another, in their commitments to work and family on your behalf and in the many second chances they gave you. They have cultivated in you through all of this an appreciation for the givenness of life. Trust in it; enjoy it; and let it become a reference point both for your personal and public lives.Advertisement
It appears the Archbishop meant to highlight the notion of life as a gift, the gratuitious nature of existence . . . existence as the freely bestowed offering of a loving God, which we too often take for granted. Interestingly, though, the word "gift" does not appear in the Archbishop's address. Givenness is repeated throughout. I confess to not knowing precisely what the Archbishop intended by so frequently choosing "givenness," but it certainly has me thinking about the miracle of being and the sheer awesomeness that there is something rather than nothing. And when I think about that, I hope I never take it for granted.