What is the difference between an adventure and a quest?
Fr. John Bartunek LC offered this point to ponder to the 24 graduates of Everest Collegiate High School during the Baccalaureate Ceremony on May 17, 2015. Fr. John was the keynote speaker at the event honoring the fourth graduating class from the high school.
Fr. John teaches theology as an adjunct professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum in Rome. He is the author of several books, and leads online retreats at www.RCSpirituality.org and Q&As about the spiritual life at www.RCSpiritualDirection.com.
He began his talk saying this moment in the graduates’ lives was “not really an ending or a beginning” but a “milestone” on their life journey. He defined a milestone as a marker along the road that gives a traveler a reference point, orientation, motivation and guidance.
“If we let it,” he cautioned.
He then posed two questions: “What will you do with all that you have received over these four years”, and “What type of journey do you wish your life to be?”
Using the characters created by J.R.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, he said Bilbo Baggins went on an “adventure”, while Frodo Baggins went on a “quest”.
“An adventure is undertaken for one’s entertainment, without a higher purpose,” explained Fr. John. “A quest is a mission, with a transcendent meaning received from God.”
He suggested the students appreciate the “rare commodity” they had received in their “Integral Formation” education from Everest. This approach to education integrates four elements – development of character, intellect, social skill and faith life.
Fr. John said today’s secular world offers few opportunities to “bring those dimensions together in a coherent purpose-filled way,” and because these Everest graduates have been given the awareness that their lives have purpose, he asked them frankly, “What will you do with it?”
He asked them if they planned to “follow whims and fancies” in their life’s journey, or “listen to the voice of God” in their souls?
He then gave a few suggestions to help them:
- Treasure the good and release the bad. Don’t let yourself be blind to the good you have received, and regarding any failures or sorrows, put them under God’s mercy. Trust that in Christ, everything can be redeemed.
- Seek excellence in everything that you do, no matter how great or small. This is how to release one’s true potential. If you seek excellence in everything you do, you will truly make the mark you are supposed to make in the world.
- Continue to grow in your prayer life and in intimacy with God. Don’t let a single day go by without spending time with Him. Keep the Lord involved in everything.