May 23, 2014


Keep priorities straight, be ready to ‘begin again’

If you’re a graduating high school student, Philip Rivers has good advice for you.

If you’ve recently taken part in a commencement exercise as a college senior, his words of wisdom apply to you, too.

Rivers, the starting quarterback for the National Football League’s (NFL) San Diego Chargers, was a speaker at The Catholic University of America’s (CUA) commencement ceremony on May 17 in Washington.

“Nunc Coepi” is a Latin phrase for “Now I begin” that the quarterback shared with CUA’s class of 2014.

“In our prayer, in our habits, in our relationships, in our profession, it is applicable to everything,” he said.

“Whether you made a bad grade or didn’t do so well on a project, you must begin again,” he continued.

“When I have a bad play or a good play, whether I throw a touchdown or an interception, I must begin again. ‘Nunc Coepi.’ It certainly applies to you graduates who now are beginning the next chapter in your lives,” said Rivers, 32. “You now begin, but this is ongoing. You begin again, and again and again.”

Though many of us have seen the highlights of the exuberant quarterback whose passion is evident on the football field on Sundays, there is more to Rivers than football—much more.

He and his wife, Tiffany, have seven children and are committed to raising their family in the Catholic faith. Philip Rivers also said he believes one of the things that has helped him succeed has been a clear sense of priorities in life.

“It wasn’t too long ago ... that I was sitting in your seat,” Rivers told the CUA graduates. “I wasn’t certain what the future held, but I was certain of what mattered most to me. I knew as long as I stayed focused on my priorities, I would be ready for life’s ups and downs. What are your priorities? What is the foundation on which you will build your future? Mine are very simple: faith, family and football, in that order.”

Rivers encouraged the graduates to pursue the things they love.

“What are you passionate about? What fires you up?” he asked. “Life is too short to just go through the motions. Discover your passion, if you haven’t already, and do it to the best of your ability.”

For those of us striving to live out our vocation by being more Christ-like each day, Rivers’ words hit home.

As people striving to be more holy, we face daily challenges at work, at home and especially, these days, in our lives of faith.

In today’s secularistic “reserve your religious practices for Sunday” mentality, it seems many powerful and vocal forces are encouraging society to keep faith a private matter, and even allow the government to dictate how we live it. As evangelists called to share and live the word of God, we cannot allow that to happen.

Like Philip and Tiffany Rivers, we need to make sure faith is the most important thing in our lives. And we need to pass that passion on to our families.

“We strive to raise our children to know, love and serve God,” Philip Rivers said. “Staying in the state of grace and receiving the sacraments allows us, all of us, to better live out our faith. No matter where one is on his or her faith journey, it is fitting to say, ‘Nunc Coepi.’ ”

Today, tomorrow, next week, next year, may “Nunc Coepi” always be central to our duty to be the Lord’s disciples, and in our call to be a leaven in our homes, in our parishes and in our communities.

—Mike Krokos

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