One Year Old

August 30, 2006

Today marks the one-year anniversary of VFTH. It's been fun, fulfilling and somewhat time-consuming, although I managed to take some longer breaks this summer. A lot of that time has to do with steps needed to make the blog work within the format of the official GUHoyas.com website. Feedback I've gotten however has been hugely positive, so here we go into year two of this worthwhile endeavor.

Today also marks the first day of classes for the undergraduate schools. In keeping with long-standing church tradition, classes were cancelled from 11:00 am to noon so that all could attend a special community-wide event, the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

AMDG inque Hominem Salutem: For the Greater Glory of God and the Betterment of Humankind

Threats of rain in the morning forced this celebratory beginning to the school year indoors to Gaston Hall. Nearly 800 students, faculty, staff neatly fit into Patrick Healy's great hall for this annual ritual that invites and welcomes the animating and inspirational breath of God, the Holy Spirit, to Georgetown for the coming year. Georgetown's rector of the Jesuit community, John Langan, SJ, provided an eloquent homily.

So with today's convergence of the blog anniversary and the beginning of the academic year, stay with me for this brief philosophical prologue.

Addressing the participants at the end of Mass, University president Jack DeGioia reflected upon two of the precepts that Georgetown espouses in its vision of itself. He noted the striving for the "magis," that permeates our campus -- literally the "more." The word originates from the Jesuit motto, "Ad majorem dei gloriam" -- For the greater glory of God -- thus the acronym AMDG.
University president Jack DeGioia speaking earlier in August
Banners proclaiming the spirit of Georgetown adorn the front side on campus

The spirit of Georgetown defined on the Bunn Intercultural Center wall

As Jack does so well, he reminded us of a corresponding tension -- the need for humility, inherent in such Jesuits adages as "men and women for others" and "cura personalis." While he spoke, I glanced at the unmentioned second part of the AMDG epigram scrolled on the stage wall -- the words "... inque Hominum Salutem" -- and the well-being of mankind. That says it too.

I thought about how powerfully our president's words apply to the world of Georgetown athletics. As we reach mightily for competitive success on the playing fields, we glorify our creator. I remembered the lines from the film, Chariots of Fire, spoken by Scottish track champion and missionary, Eric Liddell, "I believe God made me for a purpose--for China. But He also made me fast! And when I run, I feel His pleasure. To give that up would be to hold Him in contempt. ...to win is to honor Him."

So too, we teach and practice humility in our play by modeling sportsmanship and fair play. As we serve our fellow beings in this way, we ennoble them and ourselves, and make this world a better place.

Spilling out onto Healy lawn following the service, I took a deep breath -- thankful and confident that I had started the new year in this way - and prouder than ever to be a Hoya!


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