Commencement Day by Anthony Esolen

Commencement Day

Anthony Esolen on Letting Our Children Go Home (A Graduation Address)

Ladies and gentlemen, parents, friends, and graduates: I am reminded tonight of the story of a young man who went on a journey with his family. It was not an unusual journey. We’re told that the family would make it every year, going to the great city to commemorate a night more than a thousand years before, when by the might of God their ancestors bid farewell to a land of bondage, but a land that had yet been their home, to wander forth into the desert, as God would lead them, to another land, one flowing with milk and honey.

Imagine that family on the road back from Jerusalem. Imagine the mules and carts, the father and the uncles lugging sacks of provisions, the aunts tending to small children trying to wander off, the mother chatting happily with her kin. Imagine all the dust and noise of a family on the road, that knows exactly where it is going—home. And then, perhaps at nightfall, when the clan gathers around a few fires for supper, the mother and father look around and see that their little boy, a little boy no longer, is not with Uncle David or Aunt Hannah. He is not there.

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Anthony Esolen is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Thales College and the author of over 30 books, including Real Music: A Guide to the Timeless Hymns of the Church (Tan, with a CD), Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Regnery), and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord (Ignatius). He has also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy (Random House) and, with his wife Debra, publishes the web magazine Word and Song (anthonyesolen.substack.com). He is a senior editor of Touchstone.

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