First Signs of Civilization

graduationThe famous anthropologist Margaret Mead was once asked, “What is the earliest sign of civilization in any given culture?”

The questioner expected her answer to be a clay pot or perhaps a fish hook or a grinding stone, but Doctor Mead’s answer surprised everyone, “a healed femur,” which is a leg bone below the knee. She explained that no healed femurs are found where the law of the jungle reigns – which is the survival of the fittest.

A healed femur shows that someone took care of the injured person, since someone had to do the hunting and gathering for that person until the leg healed.

The evidence of compassion, Mead said, is the first sign of civilization.

Over the next couple of weeks a number of young people in our midst will be completing their high school, vocational or college education. We will gather with them and their families at graduations and celebrate with them at parties held in their honor.

Our graduates have learned a great deal about history, science, art, literature, and hands-on skills. But, what makes our society “civilized,” what makes us human, is the lengths we are willing to go for the sake of others. Caring for others, putting ourselves second for the sake of another, seeking what is good and right for someone else regardless of the cost to ourselves, is not only the first mark of civilization but also the first sign of the work of Christ in the life of a believer.

Despite the degrees and diplomas and certificates our graduates receive, all of us need to be reminded that we are never done learning.

To our graduates . . . Your next professors and teachers will be your spouse, your children, and your friends. You will learn from those you will be called to teach, lead and guide. The most important lessons of life will be taught to you by the poor, the needy, the forgotten, the dying, and all who come to you for help. May you have the grace and wisdom to learn what they have to teach you. May you have the generosity of spirit and compassion of heart to build the world through your own ability to heal, to lift up, and to give. Stay close to the Lord Jesus – and be sure to pray every day!

Here at Saint John Bosco, at all of our Masses the weekend of June 7/8, 2014 we will be acknowledging and invoking God’ blessing on our graduates.

I trust that if you are from Saint John Bosco, and you, your son or daughter is graduating this spring that you have already given us that information. If you haven’t, then please send an email by June 1st to (give us the name of the graduate and the school, if graduating from college let us know if it’s an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Doctorate Degree).

Question – What advice would you give to a graduate from your life experience to help them realizes that they are never done learning?

May 28th, 2014 |