By Jacquelyn Oster, Class of 2019
As summer ends and autumn approaches, the students of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts begin a new semester with much excitement. Upperclassmen exchange junior project and senior thesis ideas with each other, while sophomores look forward to their upcoming semester abroad in Rome. Freshmen nervously anticipate their study of Euclidean geometry. Nine transfer students from four different countries bring new life to the conversations that take place on campus, as students make their way across the New England farm estate that, in 1980, became a place where men and women of different backgrounds can pursue a common end.
Having been made in the image and likeness of God, we are created to know, love, and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next. But we cannot know God if we dismiss our fellow man. In his welcome address to the student body, Dean of Students Dr. Denis Kitzinger exhorted all to accept the many opportunities that we have to encounter God’s greatest creation. Though we are sometimes inclined to look at our phones while passing fellow students—or to sit with the same people at dinner—we must choose to follow Christ by dying to ourselves and growing in love for the other members of His Body.
At TMC, we have the freedom to encounter others in a variety of situations. We collectively rack our brains over Aristotle’s Metaphysics. We sing folk songs at bonfires and stay up into the wee hours of the morning, studying or simply talking about life. We observe feasts as well as fasts, and celebrate daily Mass. But we also live side-by-side in rather tiny dorm rooms, where concessions must be made for the sake of others. In these circumstances, we are presented with a great opportunity and call to practice virtue.
For this reason, Dr. Kitzinger aptly reminded students of the college’s motto, “Caritas Congaudet Veritati”, that is, “Charity Rejoices in Truth.” In every age, there exists a false conception of charity, which assumes that individuals may live their own, often contradictory “truths”, and this prevents us from fully encountering others. Here at TMC, however, we live in community for the sake of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty. It is a shared pursuit, and one that enables us to go beyond the realm of the self and love what is worth loving in others, especially as we forgo the objects of selfish whim and desire.
John 13:35 reads, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” In accord with the exhortation of Christ, the Dean encouraged students to remain focused on the common purpose of our living here at this school. While we are still smitten with the new tutorials and foreign accents on campus, let us allow our energy and optimism to reinforce our commitment to viewing every encounter as an opportunity to know, love, and serve God, delighting in Truth and responding to His call to love each person we meet.