It was the last week of St. Gregory’s Armenian School and Camp in East Falmouth, Massachusetts. On this Sunday in August, Father Luke Arakelian delivered one of the most memorable and beautiful sermons ever heard.
He directed the homily to the children who were saddened to say farewell to their friends and to see the end of their fun at summer camp. Always sensitive to the moods and feelings of the young students and noticing their tears, Father Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said these words that spoke as eloquently to all the parents as well as to the children.
“Many of you are sad to see camp end and see the summer come to a close. Many of you are crying as you say good-bye to friends who live far away from you, friends you will not see or enjoy until next summer. Your tears are so natural.
Beautiful Endings, Beautiful Beginnings
“Remember, though, that when one beautiful thing ends, another beautiful thing begins. That is God’s plan for both children and parents. Yes, your summer is ending, and the camp season is finished. But as this beautiful time of summer ends, another beautiful time in your life begins as you return to your good homes and loving families. God has many beautiful things prepared for you in each of the different seasons of your life.
“Your parents did the same thing when they married. They said good-bye to their mother and father and their family home, and it was a time for tears. One beautiful time in their lives had ended as your own parents left their beloved homes and their dear mother and father.
But as this beautiful stage of their lives ended, another beautiful moment in their story began.
“Your parents became husband and wife and formed their own home, the special place they created to welcome you into the world. A new happiness was added to their lives. Your parents had to say good-bye for this special great joy to enter their lives– for you to be born and come into this new home that was especially made to welcome you into their hearts.
A Short Season
“You too have to say good-bye so the next great chapter in your life can begin. Remember, though, that you never really say good-bye forever. You can see each other next summer. You can visit each other if you do not live too far away. You can write letters or speak to each other on the telephone, and you can always remember these happy days of summer and always pray for each other.
“Your mother and father said good-bye to their own parents for just a short time until they visited or saw each other again and brought them the blessings of grandchildren, adding to the richness of their lives an abundance of happiness.
“You too are saying farewell for only a short season. Love never ends, goodness never dies or disappears, and beautiful things will always keep coming into our lives throughout all the four seasons and throughout all the different ages of our lives.
“God is always renewing and replenishing our lives. Our cup is never empty but always being refilled.
“So, dear children, do not be too sad. When one beautiful thing ends, another beautiful thing begins. And this will go on and on as you grow up and become young men and women. God’s supply of beautiful things and great joys has no end from the beginning to the end of our lives, and even more beautiful things await us in Heaven.”
For Those Who Love Him
In this simple sermon for children, Father Luke illuminated the love of God and taught them the meaning of God’s Divine Providence and wisdom in the design of human life from chapter to chapter and from beginning to end.
Life is not just saying good-bye or feeling disappointed because joy ends all too quickly and time flies. Life, on the contrary, is full of great adventures and amazing surprises. God has a fashioned a perfect plan for all persons so that each age has its special prize—some vintage wine—that awaits the proper time.
God always prepares more and more beautiful gifts for those who love Him, live with patience and hope, and never doubt his goodness. God always gives man something to look forward to with joy and excitement. God does not want His children to be ruled by sadness or to feel impoverished when something ends.
He wants us to remember, in the words of St. Therese of Lisieux, that God is a Father who is honored when His children ask great things of Him and expect “everything.”