Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Search Within

On Monday I attended a SPECTRUM Meeting which was a discussion led by Father Linnane addressing sexual ethics and morality. We discussed the recent suicides that have taken place throughout the country, specifically the death of Tyler Clementi, a freshman at Rutgers University, who took his own life due to bullying actions over homosexuality. Father Linnane shared an interesting story with us. He compared the story of Tyler Clementi to an experience he had while visiting his parents in Florida over spring break. It was during the time of Lent and he woke up early to attend mass. As the priest read his homily he stated “I am not afraid to say that fornication is a sin, I am not afraid to say that birth control is a sin, I am not afraid to say that abortion is a sin, and I am not afraid to say that homosexuality is a sin.” After the completion of mass, Father Linnane went back to meet with the priest and explain that he had just misrepresented the teachings of the church. Father Linnane went further to explain “a sin has to do with the subject, with freedom; homosexuality is not a moral issue, its condition is blameless, and it is not a matter of choice.” Father Linnane quotes Kant’s moral theory when he says “Always treat persons (including yourself) and ends in themselves, never merely as a means to your own ends.” This quotation was the basis of the lecture and sums up Jesuit education and values right on point. You can’t judge a person by what’s on the outside; I know we hear that so much, but it is the truth. What a person holds within is far greater than the way they appear from the outside. Sometimes it takes time to reveal the true personality of a person, but everyone deserves to have the opportunity to show who they truly are. Father Linnane started off his lecture by explaining his role in the Loyola Community. He said “as president, it is my job to make all students feel welcomed – mind, body, and spirit – and safe.” This lecture can be connected to his earlier letter and can also be linked to Jesuit education, teachings, and values. In his earlier letter he reiterated the fact that through mourning, grief, and loss our Loyola community came together to support and help one another through hard times. Something that really struck me about the lecture was when Father Linnane said what worries him is that bullying incidents due to homosexuality could happen on our campus. He said the use of social networking site to post anonymously about others is increasing and worsening. Studies have also shown that Roman Catholic students are more promiscuous than students of any other religion. We have to develop a level of respect for ourselves and others. The boy at Rutgers is an example of a person who was disrespected, pushed over the limit, and stripped of his personhood. Father Linnane discusses when entering any relationship it is important to have commitment, trust, maturity, mutual understanding, mutual consent, mutual good-will, respect, justice, and love.

Earlier in the semester Father Linnane wrote a letter and within stated “In a Catholic university these fundamental questions are ultimately bound up in the question of God’s nature and God’s will for us, as well as in the possibility and meaning of human transcendence. At Loyola University Maryland, concerns such as these find expression most evidently in the core curriculum, but I must emphasize that no path of inquiry—graduate or undergraduate, professional education or liberal arts—can exempt itself from engaging these questions and how the work of each program serves to advance the human good.” Jesuit education and values teach the focus and good of the whole person. It teaches the acceptance and welcoming of others graciously and without a label. It teaches respect and love.

The lecture concerning sexual morality and ethics can be linked to the poem “My Mistress’ Eyes are nothing Like the Sun” and short story “The Birthmark”. In the poem “My Mistress’ Eyes are nothing Like the Sun” by William Shakespeare the speaker describes his mistress in an unappealing way, but at the end explains how she is still the most beautiful lady to him. This shows the idea of looking past the exterior and loving her for what she has inside. On the contrary, in the short story “The Birthmark” by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Alymer is unable to look past the imperfect upon his wife, Georgiana’s, cheek. He conform her to disliking what she see even though she has lived with the birthmark and it has always been a part of her. His obsession to fix the blemish leads to her death. This shows how an imperfection can destroy a relationship. If you really love someone, you love them for everything they have and you don’t try to fix the flaws. Nobody is perfect and nobody is flawless. Father Linnane did a great job explaining that no one person is superior to another, we must graciously accept all. We don’t necessary have to agree with their beliefs, but we cannot disrespect others because they have different views and values from us.

What is the most surprising thing I have learned this semester? The most surprising thing I have learned this semester is that if you actually take the time to uncover the true meaning of something there is no limit on how much you can learn. I never took the time to go out in the community or to really analyze a piece of literature before this class, but in going to several events on campus and participating in the transportation assignment, I feel more connected to the Loyola community. The most influential event was definitely the Hunger Banquet. I am now a member of the group on campus, Ignite Change, and next week I will be participating in an event run by the club to make a difference. It is called A Million Pleas and we are going to set up a table in Boulder next Monday and have students record themselves saying “Please…”. This event is to raise awareness to the impact of nuclear weapons and try to ban their usage. I was nervous for this class because I didn’t know if I was going to be able to balance the workload, but each exercise made me appreciate the class even more. I love the teaching through presentation aspect because it encourages students to engage in conversation which opens a variety of different viewpoints from the readings. Overall the most surprising thing I learned this semester is Jesuit education and values surround us every day and by taking the Jesuit teachings into account we better ourselves as well as others. I am very grateful for being able to have taken this class this semester, it was definitely one of the few I looked forward to attending each class.

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