Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Father Hug spoke about five messages allowing a person to be informed about the 2008 presidential election. The first message is to improve political discourse. The competition between the two candidates has increased, focusing on the flaws of the competition instead of promoting the actions needed to improve the country. To improve politics, a person must obtain integrity, discipline, and freedom. Wealth, health, and honor do not help solve world issues. Today, the president must govern a globalizing world, stabilize the economy, decrease domestic and global social divisions, and fix global warming. Father Kolvenbach spoke about the promotion of justice in his article, The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice, because it helps transform the world and will help fix these issues; justice is the aim of all politics. Justice does not include lies or misinformation, but truth and honesty. Through justice, the future president will focus on the solving these issues for the common good.
The second message Father Hug mentioned is to think critically and systemically. A Jesuit education teaches people to think critically, analyzing today’s issues. A person must be up to date on today’s issues in order to make an informed decision on who to vote for, which is the third message. There are three key issues, war, the environment, and the economy. Each issue involves the entire world, uniting everyone. To become well informed, Jesuits encourage people to become involved. A person learns more by acting, instead of listening.
The fourth message is to be faith based and value based in this country. The Christian faith believes in ending abortion, the death penalty, and racism. Republicans and Democrats have different views on these issues, as well as others. Republicans view God as a moral authority, teacher, and judge, while democrats think of God as love and a forgiveness teacher. Christians view God as their savior and protector, He forgives their sins. Sins are caused by irresponsibility and disobedience, according to Republicans, while Democrats believe sin is a result of being unloved. Democrats feel love should be unconditional, and Republicans believe in tough love. The Pope believes love is a journey toward liberation through self-giving. Different faiths and values come together to govern the world, and the differences do not matter because they focus on one thing, the common good.
The final message is to be passionate. It is important to vote for the common good, only if a person truly believes in what he is voting for. Every voter must want to create a better world, for every individual. In order to build onto the world’s ideals, everyone must work together, creating a world embedded in justice. To ensure that the common good is the main focus of all decisions, the world must speak and act. Action is a necessary component to promote the common good. Saint Ignatius believed love should be shown by doing good deeds. More time is invested through deeds rather than words, showing a stronger commitment. In this election Loyola College students should act and vote as Christians, students, and republicans, ensuring they are voting for the common good.
In the Kolvenbach it says, “If the measure and purpose of our universities lies in what students become, then the faculty are the heart of our universities.” I found this statement connected to our English 101 class because we are required to attend these sorts of cultural events. If this class had not required me to write a review on an event I probably would have never gone and seen this play, and I would have missed out on fun experience. I realized by having our faculties at Loyola require students to attend events and get involved we become well rounded. Isn’t the main idea of a Jesuit education giving back to the community and getting involved? Without that push we probably would never really get out and see what new things we like and dislike. These sort of events help shape us into cultural and responsible adults. In the words of Shakespeare “We know what we are, but know not what we may be." By experiencing these new things we will find out new things about ourselves, which could ultimately help us find the path to our future career and life.
Growing up, CYO basketball was life from late autumn through the winter for most of the elementary school boys and girls in my parish. I, along with most of my closest grammar school friends, played together on the same team from second to eighth grade. In those seven years, our team went from dead last in our division to first place in Westchester county and back to the bottom again. Every game we played we either won as a team or lost as a team and the friendships we formed would prove to be some of the closest I would ever form. The program itself was both funded and run by volunteers, many of whom played on the same court in the past. It seemed natural for me to volunteer as the couch of my sister’s third grade team after hanging up my sneakers only a year before. Throughout high school I watched each of my players grow both individually and as a team and I felt the bond we all shared strengthen. Though I was volunteering, I never thought of my work with the team as service. By giving back to the program that had meant so much to me as a kid, I had unknowingly embraced the concept of being a “man or woman for others” that Peter-Ham Kolvenbach, S.J. writes about in The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education. When it finally came time for me to go to college I couldn’t help but feel sad about leaving the team (and my sister) behind, but I vowed that my involvement in the program was not over. Leaving the team in the hands of another knowledgeable and competent coach (those of my mother), I made a promise to help out as much as possible and to not only attend but coach both the opening and closing games of every season; a promise that I have continued to live up to over the past weekend. Kolvenbach explains that St. Ignatius calls upon each of us to practice our faith through deeds of service as well as through our words. It is through this service that we answer our mission as Catholics. What he neglects to say is that service does not need to be one sided. Through my years as a coach I feel as though I have gained just as much from my team as they have from me.
… The clock starts the moment the ball is inbounded but time seems to have slowed to a stop. Each second seems to last an eternity as the ball is passed from one player to the next. My point guard passes to the right, sets a solid pick and rolls to the left opening up a huge gap between her and the basket. My sister, the five-foot power forward, sees the hole before it even opens and passes it blindly into the gap. Racing towards the basket the point guard reaches the ball with just enough time to catch it and lay it up. The buzzer rings out just as the ball passes through the net and the crowd bursts into life again. Walking off the court and into the locker room the team’s spirit is revived. Though the scoreboard displays an eight point deficit, the team’s confidence has grown tenfold. The speed and technicality of the last play has struck a new fear in the opposition and they can feel it. The team is eager to be back out on the floor and the electricity in the room can be felt by all. The opposing team has no idea what they are about to face. Did I forget to mention it is only half-time?
The first week I joined my teammates and I woke up at eight o’clock on a Saturday morning to go into Baltimore. There we all participated in laying down the framework in building houses as part of habitat for humanity. We worked a usual nine to five doing miscellaneous tasks which reminded me of my days down in New Orleans. After we were finished we got thanks for our work, but the best feeling came about a week later; the head director for habitat that day sent our coach an email praising us for our work that day and our attitude we had. That to me made the whole ordeal worth it.
Another form of community service that the Loyola Rugby Club has in Baltimore is with St. Mary’s Church. Year after year the club team has gotten involved with kids from the church and taught the game of rugby. I went last Thursday and had a blast; the kids are energetic, eager to learn, and liked to have fun. It was defiantly an experience I look forward to doing again. Another form of community service we did for St. Mary’s Church was a fundraiser this past weekend, parents’ weekend, to benefit the parish. We went around selling tickets for this fundraiser which profits went directly to St. Mary’s, it was a success.
Although when I originally signed up for the Loyola Rugby Club I did not anticipate all the things that came with the team, I most certainly am enjoying them. I look forward to taking part in more event services, especially with the kids at St. Mary’s. There is even take of setting up a team which would be very exciting.
I have started volunteering at Govans Elementary School on York Road. There I assist the librarian with her responsibilities of putting away the books and giving lessons to all of the children that have library time each day. This school is in desperate need of more teachers and funding, which are some of the reasons the school is considered by the state to be a “failing school”. The entire staff is stretched too thin and it is important that they get volunteers on a regular basis; otherwise the school might not function.
On this past Thursday, I showed up for the first time to help out. I was surprised when I tried getting into the school, as the front doors were bolted shut and the only way to get in was to go to the side and get buzzed in by an office secretary. It was strange to see a school in such poor condition, many of the lockers did not close, and almost all of the water fountains were removed from the wall because they did not work. All five grades are squeezed together into two hallways on two floors. The walls are all different colors of paint, the lack of uniformity giving the appearance of a truly underfunded school.
The day began with a large number of books that needed to be put back onto the 12 or so shelves. There are enough books to fill about 15 shelves comfortably, but there is not enough money in this year’s budget to afford new ones. The day before, a class had a book scavenger hunt, but with all the commotion, the one librarian could not get around to all of the kids and make sure they were putting the books back. This left her with about 100 books to go back with very little extra time on her hands to do so. This was my first chance to help out, so I spent time doing that and learning the organization system of that small library.
The second part of that first day was spent helping the librarian with the lesson for the day. She brought in 8 kids from two different classes and sat them down at the one table in the center of the room. This day the kids were starting a new book that was told from the perspective of a dog. The kids first learned some vocabulary that was going to show up in the first chapter of the book and then they began to read out loud one at a time. After a few pages everyone stopped reading and the kids got a worksheet about the new words they learned. This was where I got to interact with the children on a one on one basis. It was interesting to see what level they were at with reading and writing skills. It was easy to see that they were not at a typical fourth grade level, with many of them misspelling very simple words.
In relation to The Jesuit mission, it is important to serve those in your community who are less fortunate than yourself. In Kolvenbach’s article on Jesuit education, he states, “justice requires action-oriented commitment to the poor with a courageous personal option.” It is important for us in the Loyola community to make a commitment to help out the students of this elementary school because it is part of the Jesuit mission. These children are coming from poor and broken homes and it is our job as educated leaders of our community to assist them to overcome their surroundings and become positive contributors to society.
As I was sitting there I smiled to myself, because I was excited for the challenge. Sometimes the easy way out does not give you the most fulfilling experience. At Loyola, my Jesuit education, especially my service experiences, have already taught me some of these ideas. It is necessary to broaden your horizons and try something new. For me volunteering at a house with residence suffering from HIV and AIDS was already stretching my limits, because it was something I was never exposed to. Now that Dede was not someone I could easily reach to, I could tell that my work here was significant.
In the Kolvenbach article, it is evident that challenging yourself and society is an important Jesuit mission. “Only a substantive justice can bring about the kinds of structural and attitudinal changes that are needed to uproot those sinful oppressive injustices that are a scandal against humanity and God”. This quotation spoke to me in the passage, because everyone is guilty of having certain prejudices. It is not always a very negative thing, but usually just some ignorance. Unless you are exposed to it, you cannot begin to break down the barriers that divide us from the injustices that face the world. Although walking into the Don Miller House might have been slightly uncomfortable I cannot live life without ever exiting my comfort zone. Other students and myself “must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively”. Immersing students into the real world not only gives them memorable experiences but it teaches students to think. It promotes believing in equality for all and can help students make important decisions.
The Jesuit mission is all about whom students become. Engaging myself into these situations will help me to become a better human being. We are all human beings, and deserve justice. Unfortunately there are injustices everywhere, but it is not right to look away. You can look at this on a grand scale, or compare it to small situations. I could have been very discouraged with Dede, when she yelled at me, but instead I am taking it as a challenge. Again this is a very small example, but the ministry of presence is still significant. Although she seemed to be pushing away from me I knew that I was not supposed to pull back. Hopefully over the semester I will learn a lot about Dede and a lot about myself. Someone once told me that you cannot change the world, but you can change a part of someone’s world. My mission for service this semester is let Dede know I am not giving up on her. This is nothing special or great, but Kolvenbach’s article reinforces the idea of: men and women for others. Overall my first week at Don Miller House was a challenge, but it was a positive challenge that will help shape me into an intelligent, aware, and compassionate young woman.
When I arrived and sat down at my table, children started filing through the door. It was hard not to notice the predominant number of African American children, and then suddenly, an Asian boy by the name of Kevin sat down at my table. Normally the children’s ethnicities would not have made a difference however, Kevin started being picked on. Kids were running up to him and poking his face yelling “chink cheeks.” To see this kind of behavior going on broke my heart and I immediately told them to knock it off.
Throughout helping my several students at the table another boy, Danny, was doing math problems and having a lot of trouble getting them right. While I was helping him, several other children pointed out that he was in third grade, yet was in a second grade math class. The boy, embarrassed, denied it, but the other kids took the liberty of proving it by comparing math books. I simply said it didn’t matter and several other things to help Danny feel less upset about his math level situation. It made me so upset to see kids treating each other this way. Luckily, I was brought up in a school that had a control. The fact that kids have to go through this everyday is a horrible way to live and even worse to learn with the constant distractions impairing their education. I was only there for a tiny part of the children’s day and cannot imagine how bad the bullying must get when no one is there to stop it.
One would think that by seeing these events take place I would have a negative perspective of the world after leaving St. Mary’s. However, this experience gave me more motivation to help out and volunteer my time to individuals who are in need. If I can make a difference in just an hour a week helping children not get picked on so that they can complete their homework, imagine what I can do with two hours, or even three. St.
Mary’s just confirmed Peter-Ham Kolvenbach’s talk about the Promotion of Justice ein Jesuit Education. He says you can’t really slack and as a Jesuit, but must go out and do everything you can to make the world a better place, which have begun my process of doing. I have been involved in community service, but a lot of it has been sheltered and selecting stopping me from getting the raw experience of service. This way, the feeling of accomplishment wasn’t as strong and the drive for service left soon after it was over. I had passion to do more after truly experiencing service at St. Mary’s and now I can see what Kolvenback was saying about being a true Jesuit and getting out in the world to make a difference. I can only look forward to my coming weeks at St. Mary’s to see what I can accomplish.
Mrs. Council explained a lot about her life as a child and how it’s not always easy. She was raised by a single mother with several siblings so she didn’t have much of a childhood as she had to help care for the family. This is directly how she illustrates the idea of service and education for others. All the work that she did as a young adult she was doing for the greater good of her family. She did not have very many opportunities, but she knew how important education was. She said she always told herself that if she wanted it she could do it.
The lecture made me realize a lot of things about myself and about the opportunities available to me. Being here at Loyola which is an incredible opportunity all on its own there are so many various things for me to do with my life and make a difference for me and for other people. Sitting at the lecture inspired me to get more involved and more serious about service. With the countless community service programs available, I see that there is no reason I shouldn’t do everything I can to help others. Also I was motivated to get my work done as soon as I got home from the lecture. After hearing how successful she was due to her hard work, I wanted to get home and get all of my work done and possibly even ahead on the next day’s work. Mrs. Council seemed so grateful for every chance she had been giving and she took full advantage of every opportunity that she had. Her speech made me realize how lucky I am to be here at Loyola and how much I can get out of my education and experience here.
A lot of what Mrs. Council had to say was very relatable to our previous reading, “When I Consider How my Light is Spent.” This piece of writing very clearly illustrated the feeling of incompleteness and desire to complete their service. Mrs. Council has done so much for herself and her family, she said that your always have to work hard but life isn’t about getting things it’s abut what you have and who you help. Her ideas of curiosity, belief, change, and hard work, all show that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can make a difference. This is just like the speaker of the poem, who realizes that he may not be able to take part in and do service for h is maker and others in the same ways that other people can, but he certainly can still do it.
Mrs. Council pointed out how important it is to set goals for yourself and stay focused. She alluded to loads of other characteristics related to Jesuit education as well; such as being attentive. Jesuits believe that “conscious learning begins by choosing to pay attention to our experiences,” (Jesuit Education, 27). She told us to truly live and experience everything we take part in and have fun doing it. Reflecting on this event has reminded me how inspirational the lecture was and how important it really is to get involved and stay motivated. I am very excited to be at a Jesuit school and have all these opportunities.
As soon as we started talking, they told us to get involved because it is the best way to get to know people and learn. Since I first came to this school, I have heard from many people, faculty, students and teachers the same idea. They talked about how important community service is not only because we provide food or clothes, but because we learn about other people who need our help. They said that the most important lessons are not from the classroom, but from the experiences that will eventually shape us as responsible adults; this is one of the ideas that caught my attention the most. In the poem by Andre Marvell “To His Coy Mistress” he talks about love, maybe it is a different kind of love that what the Jesuit talked to us about, but it is still love, Marvell talked about time, and maybe sometimes we think we are so busy in school, but we should dedicate some of our time for people who need our help. It is very important for us to be involved in school because we will physically help people, but most important, we relate to them in ways we never thought possible.
Another way for us to learn and get involved is by studying abroad, father Jack told us that we should get out of our comfort zone and go to places which we have never thought of. Maybe not just going to comfortable places like France, England or Ireland, but places like Thailand or China. According to him, seeing and experiencing other cultures will help us appreciate our own and learn from those who do different things than us and live differently. I can relate to this when I went back to my country this summer I was not used to it anymore, it was very hard for me to adapt again, even though I lived there for fourteen years. It was out of my comfort zone and I did not like it the first days, but then I saw all the good things that my country had to offer and then I loved it.
It was very interesting to get to know all of them and hear what they thought about Jesuit education and everything that Loyola had to offer. I also remember one of them saying that we paid $46000 a year and we might as well take advantage of all of this. I should say again that the most important lessons come from outside of the classroom and they are right. We have to enjoy everything that this school has to offer and get involved in community service and other extracurricular activities, not because of the money but because we will learn from every experience.
Father Hug`s first point was that the political landscape in America has recently been deteriorating and lacking a sense of moral responsibility. He described this election`s dialogue as "nasty" and "illogical," and was referring to that of both parties. In fact, he showed clips of both John McCain and Barack Obama slandering the other in ways that should not have a place in the political arena. Hug appealed particularly to us as college students, urging that we have the capacity to change the political environment by being faith based and value centered. By this, he meant that we should place our Catholic identities as our defining identities, rather than allowing our views to rely on partisanship. However, he did not call us to deviate from partisan issues, but to evaluate them with a questioning mind, deciding which platforms work for the common good. Our chosen views should advocate the preferential option for the poor, respect for life, emphasis on good news, and the use of care when prescribing public policy. Father Hug calls for a "win-win" situation, which is difficult to achieve, but absolutely worth trying for.
Hug continued with his theme of Ignatian discernment, and called for the use of it in improving political discourse. Focus on the common good would allow us to transform social structures that incessantly trouble our world. He equated religious or spiritual concerns to political aspects of the campaign. Essentially Father Hug could not stress enough how important our dedication to the common good of the world really is.
Not only did Father Hug tell us what we could do to improve the political scene, he showed us how. Discussing issues on campus and making them salient in the minds of our peers contribute to a theologically conscious portion of the electorate. Despite the cheap shots, corruption, and disregard for the truth that seem to pervade the current election, young people do need to realize that their decisions are not inconsequential. The choice will affect us for at least four years, and most likely even longer. Father Hug`s concluding remarks summed up his presentation well. He advised those in attendance to cast Catholic, non partisan, issue based votes. In doing so, traditional Jesuit discernment is indispensible.
What was interesting about Father Hug`s speech was his call to look past rhetoric and traditional campaign strategies and get down to the heart of the matter. In Hurston `s "The Gilded Six-Bits," the main character is attracted by a literal coat of gold that does not transcend the surface, and this eventually causes great trouble for him and his wife. Hug`s plea was to go deeper than the surface and see each issue`s true worth.
Throughout Hug`s speech, he showed no allegiance whatsoever to either the Democrats or Republicans. He enumerated differences between the red and the blue, and explained which ones were "Catholic" and which were not. By doing this it became apparent that some issues are unclear from this perspective, and these are the things that need to be most closely analyzed and discerned. By not aligning with either party, at least at the onset of the discernment process, we give our minds free range to decide which candidate is best. Not much more can be said about Hug`s speech other than that we have the capacity to change a political landscape that is in desperate need of reform, and the only way to accomplish this effectively by making the proper choice. Catholic, and especially Jesuit, reasoning comes in handy here to any voter.
On Saturday September 20, I along with 690 other people participated in the 6th annual Diane Geppi-Aikens 5k Run and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk. I was truly impressed by the turnout for the event with people from all over the Baltimore community that came out to show their support for in remembering Diane Geppi-Aitkens. This run incorporates the Jesuit ideals that we are taught here at Loyola.
I had been hearing people talking about signing up for it two weeks prior to the event and had no idea what it was about. I did some research and found that eight yrs before she died, she had been battling with brain cancer while she was still coaching the women’s lacrosse team here at Loyola. During the course of her illness she received three surgeries before it became inoperable. I greatly admire this about her. The fact that she did not let anything get in her way when it came to what she loved doing is really very inspiring. Her determination to the college and especially to the players that she had coached over the years truly says a lot about her in regards that her will power is unmatched to be able to over come brain cancer and continue to coach. All of this and she was doing it from a wheelchair.
Being my first year here at Loyola, I had no idea how big this event was going to be. The reason that I signed up was the entire crew team was signing up as a group to show its support and does so every year. After signing in and receiving my number, I started to walk down towards the freshmen dorms where the run would begin. I could not believe my eyes when I saw just how many people were there. There was a gigantic mob of people all standing ready to go several plus feet back to the sidewalk and almost over-flowing around the sides. I had no idea it was going to be this big of an even, before realizing that it was not only people that were on campus. There were Loyola alumni, people from the Towson University community, and those from the surrounding local communities. It was nice to see everyone together not as individual communities but on that day one community of Baltimore. I remember while I was running down one of the rural streets a mom and her two little kids in strollers were on the sidewalk clapping and cheering on every that ran by. It brought such a big smile to my face to see that this many people actually cared about what was going on. In Kolvenbach’s “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice”, he says that “Saint Ignatius wanted love to be expressed not only in words but also in deeds.” (pg. 27) I truly feel that this is exactly what this whole event is about. It was not merely enough to say that you feel sad or your there for someone in the Aikens family, the run was a great way for others to actually show just how much they cared about Diane and what she did for those around her.
The fact that so many people from different communities came out to support the event is truly a great accomplishment. The run was able to bring people from all over Baltimore together for a very special event. There were also more than ten sponsors from the local area and even including Pepsi as one. This truly incorporates the Jesuit ideal of men and women for and with others. Together those that participated were able to make a difference with each and every other community, no matter if it was a family or an entire school. The run also is part of service for others as well with the proceeds for the run going to the trust fund for Diane’s children. These aspects of the run that accurately depict the Jesuit ideals make it not only show our acknowledgment and continued promotion of them, but also was a great deal of fun. I am definitely planning on participated for the next three years and possibly after I have graduated as well.
An important aspect of the Jesuit education is the education of the whole person. As students, we receive this education from a teachers and faculty. According to the Kolvenbach speech educators' "mission is tirelessly to seek the truth and to form each student as a whole person of solidarity who will take responsibility for the real world." This quote explains how they put so much effort into making sure that we become well-rounded people so we can make a contribution to our society. Professors at Jesuit schools not only teach us about math, science, literature, etc, but also about justice, community service, and moral values. These features not only make us great students, but great people too.
Here at Loyola, it seems there is a different talk every night about a new topic. Each of these talks are to benefit us students and to continue to teach us outside of the classroom. William Shakespeare was one of the, if not the, greatest writers of his time, and we continue to read his works today. It is important to study his pieces because they include important themes such as love, betrayal, revenge, and hope. Hamlet included all of these themes, so it is no surprise that Loyola would offer to show these plays. The Shakespeare plays are just one example of all the events the school has to offer. The professors and faculty bring in great speakers and shows to extend our learning. Most of the time, we are able to learn and have fun at the same time. I am really glad I chose a Jesuit university and that I am given these opportunities.
Last Thursday was my first day of working at the school. Once I arrived at my assigned homework table for the year, the kids had no problem saying hello to me and asking me for guidance on their homework right away. After a few minutes of working with them, I realized how friendly, energetic, and funny they are. They actually had me smiling and laughing for a good amount of time that I was with them. To my surprise, I was also able to talk to them like young adults for the most part. Of course there were several times when I had to remind them not to throw pencils at each other and to not get out of their chairs, but overall I thought they were a pleasure to be with on the first day. However, like most kids their age, staying on task is difficult for them to do. Initially, the students had trouble staying focused on doing their work, but once I cracked down and told them that they needed to get their work done, they listened to me with ease. While I was assisting them with their homework assignments, I also realized how bright and intelligent the kids are. When I did the Big Sister program back at home, I worked with kids that were about the same age as them. It seems to me that these students are actually more intelligent than the kids I worked with at home. I don’t think I’ll need to help them with their actual homework as much as their study habits over the time that I will be spending with them. I would definitely say the first day was a success. Already, I can tell that it’s going to be a fulfilling experience working with the children at St. Mary’s because the kids are very friendly and so full of life. Although it was only the first day of working with the children, I feel like I’m quickly getting to know their personalities and work habits, and hopefully my friendship with them only grows from this point onward.
Working in a partnership with St. Mary’s Catholic School strongly exemplifies one of Father Kolvenbach’s points on what the Jesuit Education is all about. As Father Kolvenbach states, “When the heart is touched by direct experience, the mind may be challenged to change.” Because the purpose of a Jesuit education is to educate the whole person intellectually, spiritually, morally, etc., participating in a social service like an educational partnership, is one of the things that can contribute to the well-roundedness of a person. When people get to know the world around them through a first-hand experience, it challenges them to look at life at a different perspective than they did before and it builds character within them. Community service enables people to reflect on what they believe is right and just in the world and encourages them to act on their beliefs. The Jesuit education strongly believes in reaching out and giving back to the community, which is why serving at St. Mary’s ties very nicely into the Jesuit values.
Just like the values of the American Cancer Society another reason that this event is so popular and worthwhile on campus is because it defines the Jesuit way of life. This event promotes the individual within a community, and educates everyone outside the classroom. The whole person is not only defined by the educational system and Relay for Life will open eyes to the horrible world of cancer, give opportunities to help, and also teach valuable lessons. The Jesuit education also promotes links between prayer and culture, one of the most memorable parts of participating in Relay is the laps of silence. This is the portion of the walk where those who have died are remembered; as silence is struck through the gym everyone prays and thinks for all those touched by cancer.
All of the points in Father Kolvenbach’s essay of the lifelong openness to growth, and Jesuit education ideals to work and better the whole person can be improved and defined working with Relay for Life. This event can involve much more of a person then just in the classroom, and work toward a bigger cause within our small community. On top of this, it emphasizes knowledge of the whole world that many of us are touched by; giving the opportunity to help loved ones that are changed by cancer.
Monday, September 29, 2008
At age 16, Lara had escaped from Cuba, did not speak English, and was homeless. Now, at 24, he is a nationally known speaker, an author of various books, and the CEO of his company “A. Success Training Inc.” Lara told us about his goals in life and how even though he could not speak English, he wanted to be a speaker before he even attended college. All his hard work paid off, and he was able to become and have all that he wanted.
After introducing himself, Lara introduced up to his motto, “GOYA- Get off Your Anatomy and Take Action!” His purpose for his speech was to allow us, as college students, to walk away with the idea that we can accomplish our goals, as long as we take action. The speaker gave us sayings like this, as well as live scenarios using students from the audience. He used metaphors to prove his point. For example, Lara set up a bowling lane, and explained that you and those who are closest to you are the pins, while the ball is the problem, obstacle, etc. The ball will knock the pins down, but they always come back up again. Through this we interpret that although things may stand in our way and knock us off our feet, we must work hard to strive for what we want; we must get back up again. We should not allow others to hold us back (family and friends), and we need to stop worrying about being knocked down.
“The Cuban Guy” relates to the Jesuit society and idea because it is through service and faith that we achieve our goals and dreams. Respect is also of great importance in Jesuit idea. Lara explained that we should not only disallow others to bring us down, but we should have the respect to help others and push them forward, rather than tear them down. In order to move forward, we all must come together to help one another. Although we may not be talking about acts of service to those who are needy, we should help those achieve their dreams. A commitment to justice includes- “dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal and family life, the protection of nature, the search for peace and political stability…” (Kolvenbach 41). All of these elements can relate to each human being and to their journey to succeeding in life. A life without faith and justice makes it hard to reach your goals, and to receive all that you wish for.
I was happy that Loyola College brought Andres Lara to our school to speak with the students. It’s important that students learn early about how to succeed and reach their dreams. I loved hearing Lara’s story about his own life, and applying it to all of our lives. Since he lived it, we can learn a lot from him. As students who attend a Jesuit Institution, we should take advantage of our school and its Jesuit morals to overcome obstacles and accomplish our dreams.
Sunday, September 28, 2008
The event I attended was “The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare presented by The Blackfriars Stage Company. The Blackfriars kept close to the text yet developed the play with their own attitude. The audience seemed to be part the of the experience and fully enhanced the play. For the hour and a half the audience was apart of performance, not just spectators. Seeing the Blackfriars at Loyola College I was happy to see another side of the Jesuit institution I, as a freshman could experience. The Blackfriars Stage Company not only shed light on one of the diverse opportunities we can partake in at Loyola but combined a healthy mix of fun and education together for the benefit of the Loyola student.
“The Comedy of Errors” By William Shakespeare is a play about confusion. The family; a husband, a wife, twin sons, and two servants are split apart twenty-five years before the play starts. The play revolves around the two sons and their servants, unknowingly coming back to the same town. The people around them keep mistaking one son for the other. Until the end, when the husband and mothers help the two sons meet. Then the two families now complete with a wife and soon to be wife live happily ever after.
The Blackfriars stayed almost exactly to the plays original content. The play in its own context was funny. It was a brilliant comedy by Shakespeare; but they added animation to it. The Blackfriars made the pages of Shakespeare’s play come to life. When a character dances, it is a thousand times funnier then reading a character dances. When someone has
an emotional breakdown, the feelings seem truer. Not only did the Blackfriars add life to
Shakespeare’s page, they added life to the audience. Chairs were placed on the stage and the audience were asked to sit on the actual stage. During the play the actors sat down next to the audience, having the audience fan them with their hands, talk to the audience, and give the audience props. The audience had to be in constant awareness of what was going on around them. Shakespearean language being spoken to a crowded room that might have been lost on some members of the audience before, now seemed more like an everyday conversation between two people. The Blackfriars made going to a Shakespeare play a new and exciting experience.
Walking out of McManus Theatre, I was glad I had such an opportunity to see the Blackfriars. The experience made me realize Loyola is truly educating the whole person. I reflected on Loyola’s core values and core requirements. Without either this opportunity may have not been available to me. Without Loyola’s aim for academic excellence, diversity, community, and focusing on the whole person I doubt the Blackfriars would have been invited to perform. Loyola wants to educate the mind always and in as many ways as possible. Loyola also reaches out and forms bonds with others so their students can enjoy the best there is in the world and use it to help others and themselves as humans. Loyola’s core requirements always play a key role in why events like the Blackfriars can happen. Loyola opens all its doors to the student. Before going to an event like this one, a student may have never known Shakespeare could have been this enjoyable. The same thing could have been said about a math or science event. The Core lets students attend an event not related to their specific major, giving them a chance to experience all Loyola’s opportunities.
The Blackfriars brought livelihood to Shakespeare’s play “The Comedy of Errors”. They also brought the audience into the play which added a special aspect to the whole experience. Loyola College educates the whole person with events such as the Blackfriars Stage Company production.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Shakespeare’s poem “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun”, John Milton’s poem “When I consider how my light is spent” and Stacy Schiff’s article “Know it All” connect in the sense that they are all written about flaws. Shakespeare writes about the many flaws of his mistress, Milton writes about the flaws of putting a talent to waste and Schiff writes about the flaws and falsehoods of information on Wikipedia. Though all these pieces are written about different people they do all agree that humans in general are flawed yet take no initiative to fix these flaws and just continue to live life with them.
Shakespeare’s poem “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” is about a women who Shakespeare would like to lie and say is more beautiful than nature and life but he cannot. He says “ Coral is far more red than her lips’ red; If snow be white, why then her breasts be dun.” He is examining her and seeing that her beauty is flawed, that her lips cannot compare to the color coral and her breasts are nothing like the flawless white color of snow. Shakespeare criticism of this woman is interesting because he usually uses the beauty of nature to describe the beauty of a woman. When he writes “I love to hear her speak, yet well I know, that music hath far more pleasing sound.” He is saying he loves to hear her voice but he knows that music is a far better sound. It is as if he is saying he loves her but he loves nature and life more than her and she cannot compare in beauty to it.
John Milton’s poem “When I consider how my light is spent.” Is about a servant who has a talent yet chooses not to use it. The line “ Ere half my days in this dark world wide, and that one talent with is death to hide.” is interesting because John Milton was blind. It is as if he is telling the reader that the talent of sight is important and to not use it is to be nothing far from dead. The man he writes about who does not use this talent he views as stupid and flawed, and because this man is flawed he has him punished by his master at the end of the poem. It seems as though Milton sees his blindness as the ultimate flaw in his life. His poem depicts a certain depressed and angry mood to it. As if he is taking his anger about his blindness out on a fictional character through poetry.
Stacy Schiff’s article “Know it all” talks about the flaws of the website Wikipedia. Wikipedia’s original goal was to become a worldwide Internet encyclopedia, a free encyclopedia for all. Instead now people can sign on and edit any article that is posted. I remember reading an article on Albert Einstein once for a Physic’s project I was doing and read that his favorite song was “Holla back girl” by Gwen Stefani. Ridiculous I know! The article said that the website hits rack up as high as “Fourteen thousand hits per second” When the people who work for the website asked users why they try to flaw the information they said, “Look how often the mainstream media, and the traditional Encyclopedia, are wrong!” This just proves how human flaws when confronted are always blamed on other flawed people or things. It was shocking to read that Wikipedia is the seventeenth most used server on the Internet. How could something so unreliable and flawed be used so much?
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
When discussing John Milton’s poem it is evident that the subject matter deals directly with the thought of imperfection. The author uses a nervous tone to show his insecurities of his misfortune and pleads for acceptance from his Holiness. Similarly, in Shakespeare’s sonnet, the speaker depicts through vivid imagery an unattractive mistress who, even with all those defects, he is deeply involved with and describes the “love as rare”. The imperfections of her “reeking” breath or her “black wires” that grow from her head only strengthen this bond of love. These deficiencies can also been seen and criticized in our world today, accurately described through Stacy Schiff’s article on Wikipedia. The realization of a perfect encyclopedia is an unachievable task due to the fact that each entry can include strong bias or groundless “facts”. Wikipedia is described as an “ambitious vanity press” one that seeks perfection yet is riddled with errors. Evidently, impurities of our world whether they be in one’s self, another, or a literary document are seen everywhere in our world today and are accurately described in each point of view or “POV” in the assigned literature.
In the three pieces, “When I consider How m Light is Spent”, My Mistresses Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun”, and “Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?” the author’s discover that attaining perfection isn’t necessary. They are aware of what is perfection, but to them they are fine with what they have. Many times, humans are stressed on attaining the best possible, but as these authors show us, it’s okay to be happy with what you have.
In Shakespeare’s sonnet, “My Mistresses Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun”, he compares here physical beauty to that of the natural world around him, and admits that she is not as beautiful. At the end, however, he admits that he still loves her, because she is unique. I think that this is a very good poem because of its message. In life, everyone wants to have the fastest car, the biggest house, and the most beautiful spouse, but we as this poem shows, we need to be happy with what we have.
In the article by Stacey Schiff, she approaches the same issue. As we all know, an encyclopedia is supposed to be factual and professional, and here she argues that although Wikipedia is not perfection, it offers a great deal more than other encyclopedias can because anyone in the world can be an author. Once again we encounter the theme that it doesn’t have to be perfect to enjoy it.
Shakespeare has the best use of language in his piece. His words are so well chosen that the reader is captivated, and it even seems comical that he goes to such great length to relate his lover to nature such metaphors. Because of this, it is further more evident that he loves his mistress, because he works so hard to describe her in a captivating poem. Obviously, Shakespeare was able to view beauty that is not superficial, and because of this he was able to create a memorable poem.
These poems are related to Jesuit education because they all encourage to find happiness in a world that does not always have immediate happiness in the form of perfection.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Flaws are a reality of this world, they exists in every person’s life. Imperfection is the common theme between John Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light is Spent,” William Shakespeare’s “My Mistress’ Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun,” and Stacy Schiff’s “Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise.” Each story mentions the blemishes and states how each one can be turned into a valuable feature. Neither the past, present, nor future will be perfect, but it is the beauty of the imperfections which are defining.
John Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light is Spent” is about the speaker who has a talent that God gave him, but he would rather have an unusable talent. He does not want to disappoint God, making ask for an ability he could not act on and would not be able to fail Him. The speaker believes his imperfections will dismiss him into the darkness. In the final lines of the poem, God tells the speaker to put his faith in Him. God intentionally gave the speaker flaws because they make him beautiful and unique.
In William Shakespeare’s poem the speaker names all of the physical imperfections his mistress has. He states each flaw bluntly without consideration to her feelings. The speaker talks about her as being so far from perfection, but in the last two lines in the poem he shows that not one of those flaws takes away from his love for her. The speaker is a realist and understands true love, loving one another’s imperfections.
Wikipedia is one of the most popular sites on the Internet; it has fourteen thousand hits every second. Any person is able to edit an article; however there are many different views on various subjects. Strong opinions create “edit wars” which causes many errors. Even though there are many imperfections, it is still an immensely popular website. The convenience and plethora of information outweigh the vandalism and obscenities of Wikipedia.
There is always a positive for every negative. In both poems the perfection comes from ten syllables in each line, but there are indentations making them imperfect. Wikipedia is perfect to bringing the world together, however lies exist in the articles. Imperfection will never disappear, therefore it shall be embraced.
Shakespeare begins by comparing the physical features of his lover to several more beautiful aspects of nature. Though seemingly harsh at times, the relationship Shakespeare appears to be portraying with his lover is one that has withstood overtime. This relationship has passed the early stages that rely on physical attraction and has entered a more emotional realm. Despite her many physical flaws, the writer cannot simply deny his love for her. The truth of his comparisons of her physical appearance early in the poem mirrors the truth of his love for her that is professed in the final two lines.
In his poem, Milton takes Shakespeare’s criticizing eye and turns it inward on himself. Reflecting on his past, the writer feels as though his life has lacked a sense of purpose and that he has yet to live up to his potential. He attributes his failures to the loss of his eyesight and makes no attempt to hide his depression. And yet it is the loss of his external eyesight that awakens his internal eyesight and allows himself to evaluate his life. Though bitter that he has lost his eyesight the writer may believe that his days of searching are far from over. Though blind, God may still have a purpose for him that he must wait to find out. If one were to consider this poem to be a commentary of Milton’s own life and depression, he had been blind for four years when this was written, it can be argued that the “gift” he is waiting for is his writing ability. Thus through this poem Milton has found his life’s purpose.
Though a majority of the article focuses on the creation and development of Wikipedia, Schiff inadvertently touches upon the problem that arises with the construction of social thought. Because it is a public encyclopedia, one that anyone has the ability to update and change the information on, Wikipedia often falls victim to the opposing thoughts and views of its contributors. Combined with the occasional graffiti of cyber-sociopaths, Wikipedia’s credibility is questionable at best and yet the website itself continues to grow. As an encyclopedia for the people by the people, it draws in a crowd of both contributors and viewers that ranges from 15-year olds sitting around during their lunch break with nothing better to do to accomplished university professors with a passion for a specific topic. It is in its imperfections that Wikipedia ultimately finds itself as both a “beautiful and dangerous” entity.
We can see the connection between these three readings, even though they talk about different subjects, they relate in the matter of perfection. Milton trying to make something out of life even if he does not have a lot of time left, Shakespeare talking about his mistress not being perfect but still beautiful her own way, and the reading about Wikipedia talking about how some information on the internet can be incorrect even though many people have read it and edited it. Nobody has really seen perfection but there are many things close to it, but what things? This is a question many have thought about. As Loyola, Jesuit students, we do not have to be perfect, but we should try our best. For example when Shakespeare talks about his mistress, he knows that she is not beautiful, but he loves her. So we should do what we enjoy in order to get the best out of it even if it is not perfect it can still be good and it will become and example for others.
The first time I read, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” by William Shakespeare, I thought that why would anyone enjoy this poem if all he is doing is bashing everything about his mistress. After reading it again later, you come to realize that besides the fact that yes he is actually talking about her like that but also that his love for her is extremely strong. He does not need to compare her to all of the common clichés when describing a woman such as the rosy cheeks and the red coral. He sees exactly who she is, the true self that she really is and loves her for that. This can be related to the poem “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent” by John Milton about how the narrator of the poem is blind is unable to see the truth that is in front of him throughout his life. He seems nervous that he is the one who stands and waits for a gift from God, while he cannot see his own truth that his gift is that of poetry. An even more related topic is discussed in the article “Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?” from The New Yorker. We find that its founder, Jimmy Wales, main goal of the sight was to be able to give accurate information to everyone on the Internet. It allows for all users to be able to post articles on just about any topic and provide correct information it to in search for true facts regarding. Shakespeare’s comparisons of his mistress, Milton’s narrator’s search for truth, and Wikipedia’s knowledge based information site all have a central theme of the quest for and value of truth. Each of them provides their own insight as to why this is a significant theme and should be an important factor in our lives. I feel that within this Jesuit institution we are taught to seek the truth in all aspects of our lives. We should value these teaches of the search for being true to ourselves in who we are and what we believe in. The education we are getting is not that just for our minds, it is for ourselves as people living and interacting with this world.
In all three works, “When I consider how my light is spent,” by John Milton, “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” by William Shakespeare, and “Know It All: Can Wikipedia Conquer Expertise?” by Stacey Schiff, there are common themes and ideas that ring true in each one. The most obvious of these similarities is the message that perfection is an ideal that is never reached. This important lesson is applicable to all humans who are also inherently flawed, and many have a difficult time coming to terms with their lack of perfection.
In Shakespeare’s work, he writes about “his mistress” who is by his description not very physically attractive. He, to a point, makes fun of her eyes, lips, skin, hair, cheeks, scent, voice and walk, but he concludes the poem by iterating his love for this woman. His love shows his ability to accept personal imperfections and look more at a person’s soul to judge their character. Many people would not consider this seemingly unattractive woman as a possible suitor, but because he is more enlightened than others, Shakespeare his love as a tool to teach others to accept imperfections and reject ideals.
In the poem by Milton, he focuses more on his own defects, that being his blindness. This has plagued him for half of his life, hence the line, “Ere half my days in this dark world and wide.” He overcomes this setback however and discovers his talent for language and poetry. There is however another flaw that is harder for him at accept, that of his eminent death. He alludes to death a few times, using words like “death,” “light denied,” “rest,” and “soul.” This is another flaw of his that comes through the poem and makes it possible for more people to understand and relate to it. These two struggles he presents are common to many people and the latter of the two is one that everyone will eventually deal with.
In the article by Schiff she finds flaw not with a person but with an institution. She is critical of the website Wikipedia, which is an online resource that is open to be edited by anyone who has access to the internet. The problem with the site is that there is no real authority to correct incorrect facts, and therefore it is less reliable than other sources that are thoroughly fact checked. The site also has problems with vandalism in the form of people purposely putting up false information which people may view as fact. There are many more problems for the heavily criticized website, but these two are the most prominent. Wikipedia is just another proof that nothing can be perfect; even with thousands of dedicated people trying to maintain an idea (in this case an online encyclopedia), it can never maintain perfection.
John Milton’s poem is depressing in the sense that he is looking back on his life with guilt thinking he had not done enough and how his talents were “lodged with him useless.” It is human flaw to take life for granted and it is one of every person’s biggest fears. To look back on life and know that you lived it to its fullest is a feeling that everyone wishes to attain. However, the upside to Milton’s lesson learned is that he was able to write about it enabling his readers to at least be aware of his mistakes and to possibly avoid them. It is almost a way to make himself feel better, because he can help others since he is past the point of helping himself.
In William Shakespeare’s “My Mistress” we also see this human flaw not only in the mistress’ looks but also in the narrator’s analysis of her. He compares her hair to wire and talks about her bad breath. Although her aesthetically displeasing features present themselves constantly to the narrator, he states at the end about how much he loves her; again portraying the underlying theme of upsides to negative things in the life.
Lastly in Stacy Schiff’s article, she talks about Wikipedia and how it cannot be trusted as a legitimate source for information due to human error. It is not a scholarly source and can not be trusted, because anyone can write on the site and human imperfection cannot stop even the smartest people from posting inaccurate information. However, the primary focus in all three works appears again when she confirms that the actual number of errors is not much greater than Encyclopedia Britannica, therefore Wikipedia and human flaw cannot be as bad as perceived. These works teach a good lesson in life, and no matter what the flaw or error, there is always an upside to it.
In “My Mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun,” by William Shakespeare we read about a woman the speaker seems to admire. He addresses the problem with society and how they view beautiful woman. The speaker talks negatively about his lovers looks, and seems cruel in a way. No one can be perfect, and Shakespeare shows that although most men tell their lovers how beautiful they are by comparing them to other gorgeous things…these comparisons are not accurate. Men in today’s society do use false words so that they can conquer a woman’s heart. These relationships are built on looks alone, but the speaker’s relationship is more. He shows her how he feels, instead of wooing her with lies. Through all his negativity in the poem, he shows that he is truly in love with her for what she has to offer from within. In the other poem, “When I Consider How My Light is Spent,” by John Milton, we see a different problem. In this we read about the speaker’s regret and sadness. The speaker has become blind, and realizes that he has not had a “purpose” in life; he has not accomplished anything great. The poem, like Shakespeare’s’, first appears to be negative and doubtful. The poet is lost and believes that he has not yet served his maker- God. Towards the end, the speaker seems to come to a realization. Although he does not realize this, his purpose and greatness lies within his poetic words. His gift was poetry to the world, and this means that he has endowed his talent. In the reading “Know it All: Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?” by Stacy Schiff, we read about the imperfections of this search engine or encyclopedia. This article questions the reliability of the website because the public is able to write and edit everything about it. There are not many rules, and if so they are not rightly enforced. If this is to remain on the internet for the world to see, it should be accurate. Although the website may not be honest, it is a place of creativity and entertainment. “Wikipedia offers endless opportunities for self-expression,” writes Schiff.
All three writings are very similar in how they describe these flaws of society and within ourselves, yet they all come together to bring up a positive point. It’s appealing to read these three very distinct works and find one common theme such as this.
Shakespeare seems to write of someone he detests and would not take a second look at, this is very clear when he describes her breath as ‘reeking.’ It is almost shocking in the closing lines because he describes his love for her as rare and describes her as almost heavenly. At this point we come to see that despite his mistress’ imperfections he truly does love and respect her. Milton’s poem is more about his own character. It has many similarities to Shakespeare’s poem in that he starts off almost in hatred of himself, the flawed ‘object.’ He soon realizes though that he can do his part in life despite his handicap and he does not need to be perfect. The final entry by Stacy Schiff is about a Wikipedia as opposed to a person. The whole article is about the faults of the program and how people alter it and add their own opinions. Despite the fact that some information is wrong and we can sometimes be lead astray, it is still very easy for us to use and we will continue to use it. These three pieces are very different from those that we read last week, “The Birthmark” and “The Yellow Wallpaper,” in that these works come to accept flaws and imperfection, while the other two works were about the inability to accept such shortcomings or defects.
Milton’s poem is a perfect example of finding imperfections in one’s own life. The blindness that has thrown itself upon him has caused him to reflect on how he is serving his God. Milton believes that his incapability of sight is a fault, and it will upset or anger God. Milton must consider his life and face his imperfections. Milton rationalizes his performance on earth and realizes that he has served God to the best of his ability and he must continue to lead his life to the fullest, even though he has flaws.
The second piece of work is Shakespeare’s sonnet on how his lady is filled with imperfections. Beauty standards have always been an important part of society, but in Shakespeare’s sonnet he embraces everything about her. In the end he even claims that no one can compare with her. Although she may not be composed of society’s standards she is his and he realizes that their love is rare and beautiful.
Finally the last piece of literature is a contemporary account of encyclopedias. Wikipedia fits in perfectly with the theme of imperfections because this online encyclopedia is free and open to the public. Anyone can make or edit an entry, which in return leads to much error and imperfections. In one of the last paragraphs there are two perfect analogies that help explain the acceptance of this imperfect knowledge bank into the world. Jorge Cauz states “Wikipedia is to Britannica as ‘American Idol’ is to the Julliard School.” I thought this was such a perfect image, because it shows that wikipedia is a good source filled with great talent, it just is not as refined and as respected as Britannica. Wikipedia has not been classically trained, and cannot be completely trusted, but nonetheless it is still valid and therefore its imperfections should also be embraced.