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Please, Please Dream 

Excerpts from Gonzaga University’s 125th commencement address.

click to enlarge Desmond Tutu at the Arena Sunday - GONZAGA UNIVERSITY / RAJA BOSE
  • Gonzaga University / Raja Bose
  • Desmond Tutu at the Arena Sunday

It is just remarkable that I am now a Bulldog. [Cheers] … Have you discovered just how … God, The Omnipotent One, quite extraordinarily, almost always waits to have a human collaborator? … If hungry people have to be fed, The Omnipotent One is unable to do this without human collaborators. … It’s quite extraordinary, actually, to think that God has had as God’s favorite collaborators, co-workers — have you noticed? — young people. Young people! A Joseph. A David. A Jeremiah, who complains to God, “No-ooo-no-no, please God, I don’t want to be a prophet. I’m too young.”

And God says something quite extraordinary. “Hey, hey, hey, Jeremiah. You’re not an afterthought, man.” [Laughter] “Before I formed you in the womb. I knew you, I chose you.” … God says something that is quite, quite extraordinary that is applicable to all of us. You aren’t an accident. Some of us might look like accidents, [laughter] but none of us is an accident. Isn’t that fantastic? That God knew there was going to be a you, and a you, and a you and a you and a you and a you. From all eternity. And God knew that YOU were the one totally indispensible. Fantastic. … And you here, at this university, named for a young man [St. Aloysius Gonzaga] who died at 22 caring for people in the plague. And he succumbed to the plague.

Hey. You’re fantastic. And God says to you, “Please, please, please dream. Please dream. Don’t allow yourself to be infected by the cynicism of oldies like us. Dream. Dream God’s dream. Dream as you are, incredibly idealistic creatures.” You do believe, don’t you, that this is a world that can become a world where war is no more?

Just think of the billions that we spend on instruments of death and destruction. BILLIONS! When a minute fraction of those products of death — obscene amounts …would ensure that God’s children everywhere had clean water to drink. That children would not die because they can’t afford cheap, cheap, cheap inoculations as they do right now. God says “Dream, dream, dream of a world where poverty is no more.” …

God said, “My son said, ‘I, if I am lifted up, will draw, will draw.’” Jesus didn’t say, “will draw some.” Jesus said, “I will draw all, all, with an incredible divine embrace of love that won’t let you go. All, all, all, beautiful, not-so-beautiful, clever, not-so-clever, tall, short, streamlined, not-so-streamlined, black, white, yellow… Hey! All, all. Gay, lesbian, so-called straight all, all, all, all, all, all, all, all, all, all… [Applause] Jew, Muslim, Christian, all, all, all, all, all … Help me, help me, help me, help me, help me so that my children will get to know we are all one family, God’s family, the human family.”

And no one [whispering], no one is outside this embrace. [Standing ovation]

For the full speech, visit

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