Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Faith and education

Sunday morning my husband graduated from Fairfield University after three years of part-time coursework, earning a Master's in computer and electrical engineering.
(((((Cheering in loud monosyllables!)))))
Being a Jesuit school, there were very different expectations of the graduates. Much emphasis was placed on helping the poor with one's education, that with knowledge comes responsibility. The magis or the more, one of the Jesuit mottos, was stressed numerous times, that is, the highest degree, the greater extent, as much as possible, when living out one's calling in life. The motto of the school is per fidem ad plenam veritatem, through faith to the fullness of truth, along with the preeminent Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God.

Granted, none of this Godspeak entered into my husband's scientific and mathematical curriculum. But having felt called to use his intelligence for a greater good, i.e., the solar power industry, he knew he would have to back to school in order to accomplish this calling. And it was very fitting that he went to a school that believed that one's mind ought to be connected to one's heart, that what we do with our lives should be a natural extension of our beliefs and values. That one statement alone speaks volumes about my husband and what kind of person he is. If you've ever read Ruth Gendler's Book of Qualities, look up the word 'commitment': it describes David to a tee.

It was a very inspiring commencement ceremony, closing with some words from Thomas Merton set to music. The tune was awful but the lyrics were wonderful.

There Is Way to Glory
There is a way to glory.
There is a way to glory, clear and straight.
But not for men of blood.
They shall not stray upon my road.
Nor the unclean whose hands had taken life:
They shall not find this holy way to Jerusalem
where the Lord of Peace, the Lord of peaces rules in glory.
Love is the way to glory.
Love is the way to glory.
Love is the way to truth and mercy.
No beast of prey shall be there,
no angry wolf or bear by my highway.
Murder shall not stain that way with blood.
But forgiveness everywhere, forgiveness everywhere
shall teach my people how to go to glory.
Songs of love and joy echo everywhere, echo
everywhere, and the holy people travels there.
Glad and free, forgiving and forgiven,
Ah, riding on to Sion, riding on to Sion,
where the Lord of Peace, their defender, their
Redeemer, their Defender, their Redeemer, rules in glory.
There is a way to glory. There is a way to glory.
There is a way, there is a way to, there is a way
to, there is a way to glory, glory, glory, glory.
Even with all our knowledge, love is the way: sacrificial, forgiving, redeeming, justice-making, joyful love. Use what you know for the sake of love to make plain the way to glory, for all people, for all creation.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Cynthia, I attended a Jesuit university a long time ago. As a child, I was surrounded by racism. It was all I knew. Not until I attended the Jesuit university did I come to see the evil of racism, although I had attended Roman Catholic Schools for 12 years before then. I'm sure things have changed a lot since those years, but I'm grateful for that lesson.

Throughout my school years, I had to write A.M.D.G on papers I handed in, or it was points off.

Cynthia said...

There is a lot that I don't agree with in the Catholic Church but I love the Jesuits. When I was in seminary I went on a silent weekend retreat once a year at a Jesuit retreat house on the north shore of Massachusetts. I was welcome at the table and was once served by a pregnant woman.

And the standard of excellence in their universities is unparalleled.

Andy said...

Congratulations, David!