by Alexandra Huzyk ’20
On Wednesday, April 25, Father Dominic Verner, O.P., was met with applause after he gave the very last Theology on Tap of the academic year. The talk served as Fr. Dom’s farewell speech before he leaves for the University of Notre Dame to pursue a PhD. In the speech, he gave the audience five rules to follow in order to see him again; if not in their lifetimes, then in heaven.
“I like having a microphone but I don’t like goodbyes,” said Fr. Dom. “I think we’re made for eternity, for unending relationships, unending friendship.” With this thought in mind throughout his speech, Fr. Dom proceeded to give the audience a “parting gift” of how to see him again in heaven.
The first rule that he divulged to the crowd was “you’ve got to intend to get to heaven.” Heaven, he said, must be the final destination that each person must have in mind. He made a comparison between stumbling into McPhail’s and specifically intending to be there for his talk. Fr. Dom said, “Your soul is like Google Maps and you’ve got to set the destination,” because it would be a bit awkward to stumble into heaven and also into God.
The second rule Fr. Dom gave was: “Get to know the host, the owner of the house.” He said that it would be awkward if a person were to come across God and not know Him.
Then, Fr. Dom proceeded to ask a student in the audience if she had ever “Insta-stalked” anyone and then happened upon them in person. In this case, you know the person but they are unfamiliar with you. He said that this was similar to walking into heaven and not having a mutual understanding between oneself and God.
The third rule is to RSVP to the invitation that God has sent to everyone, inviting them to heaven. “Jesus died in order for us to get that invitation,” Fr. Dom said. He also shared that although confronting and accepting this might be hard, it is necessary.
The fourth rule is to “follow the directions,” to get to heaven and to ultimately get to God. After setting the destination to heaven, it is necessary to follow the directions and not to stray on a route that may lead you elsewhere. To successfully get to heaven, one’s goal, Fr. Dom said, “follow directions, obey the Ten Commandments, and do good.”
Lastly, Fr. Dom shared the fifth rule to see him again. This rule is to “get good copilots that can keep you alive and awake.” This is to keep one on the path towards God and to help in one’s pursuit of heaven. Copilots are necessary, he says, because “someone has to encourage your soul to be the best it can be.”
Fr. Dom’s talk concluded with questions from Father Bonaventure Chapman, O.P., and students in the audience. Fr. Bonaventure asked Fr. Dom what one thing he could have told himself about God prior to his Priesthood. Fr. Dom responded, “I would say, ‘do not be afraid,’” and “be more courageous, trust God more, and be more confident in what he’s done and what he’s doing for you.”
One student asked how he had decided to dedicate his life to God by becoming a priest. Fr. Dom shared that initially, he wanted to become an engineer and have a family. But, in college, he discovered that he experienced the most joy discussing profound questions about human life and Jesus. He said, “Long story short, I began to feel this desire to give everything to the Lord in a radical and frightening way.”