A song that was quite popular some 50 years ago described how, “Step by step, I fell in love with you.” The first step was “a sweet hello;” the third was, “I took a chance;” and the fourth was “true romance.”

It’s graduation time again, and time for the next step.

“Graduation” comes from the word for “step,” and it is part of a step-by-step falling in love — but with what? With the truth, named in the Gospel of St. John as knowledge of the one sent by God (cf. Jn 17:3).

But, as C.S. Lewis implied long ago, it, being a gift from heaven, is an “acquired taste.”

A “true romance” with the truth is indeed “step by step.” It would be wonderful — and so easy — if, after the first “sweet hello,” every seeker of the truth found “true romance,” but the steps don’t follow as neatly as the rhythm of the song.

The romance is actually God’s courtship of those who have tasted the tidbits of the truth along the way, the seeds of grace that our prodigal Savior has sown along the path of our lives.

Along the academic way, the extent to which we have been attracted to the truth — our awards and degrees and diplomas and medals — are really the extent to which God has “romanced” us. As in prayer, we do not so much absorb the truth as the truth absorbs and lifts us up.

Meeting up with truth is a “step-by-step” affair, rather like faith. It is a marriage of our muddled minds and baffled hearts with God’s pure and unconditional love, which, as the foundation of all that is, is rightly called “truth.”

It’s the marriage promised at the fulfillment, when God will ignite a bonfire out of the spark of the light begotten of the light that is already seeded in the searcher at his or her creation. But, like every marriage, every commitment, every friendship, it is a struggle.

Every one of us “graduates” as the season turns and another time of spring growth advances to summer and the harvest. Our next step is the struggle with the sacred summons of the Savior who, as Life, is the Way and the Truth: the one, dependable true way.

Those of you who are marking this year as your “stepping stone,” your step on your way to the truth: Remember that a “true romance” does not end at a commencement ceremony, much less the prom. Neither does the courtship you have experienced with truth end when the last strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” ebb in your mind.

It is not in the pomp and circumstance of a single day that the “sweet hello” was sounded. It was for the wedding march, the lifelong journey, the procession that you committed to when you began your education, whether or not you realized it at the time.

You will never be finished until truth takes hold of you and carries you across the kingdom threshold. You are invited to build that one-day eternal kingdom now with him, for the road to heaven leads through the Earth.

It’s a trek: a struggle and an adventure. But, then again, truth showed his face on the cross.

Take the step, remembering that truth is revealed in the struggle. Acquire the taste, and don’t lose it.

This is your next step into the realm of the truth who sets you free.

(Follow the Bishop at www.facebook.com/AlbanyBishopEd and on Twitter @AlbBishopEd.)