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Both and One



December 25, 2005

The same-day coincidence of Christmas and Hanukah celebrations this year brings to mind the epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians where he writes of the oneness of Jew and Gentile in Christ. "Utraque unum" were the Latin words used to capture this belief. These same words were adopted by Georgetown when it created the seal of the college in the nineteenth century. In modern parlance, the closest I can come up with is a weak colloquial substitute, "Two sides of the same coin."

Colorized elements of the GU seal found on the shield over the front entrance to McDonough Memorial Gymnasium
The two words of the University motto have taken on a variety of meanings in the context of higher education and Georgetown: the interchange of learning and faith; the academic joining of the arts and the sciences, and even the unification of the blue and gray on the once divided campus after the Civil War.

This paradoxical notion of simultaneous separateness and unity is both true and real in many aspects of our lives. In intercollegiate athletics for example, we sometimes cite the seeming contradiction of the education and formation of our youth on one hand and the emphasis on winning on the other. By responsibly embracing both however, the resulting tension requires continuous examination and balancing of all that we do. That is a good thing.

Acknowledging the disparity between the haves and have-nots on this planet, we do well at this time of year to remember the words, Utraque Unum: Both and One. That which differentiates us also affirms our oneness.

Good wishes to all Hoyas worldwide in this holy season.


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