By Renee Kray | Arts and Opinion Editor
Whether because of preparing for all the upcoming holidays, following up on the events going on in the Church, or the daily struggle of balancing work with life, 2015 has been a busy year and it is only shaping up to become more so. It would be easy to feel overwhelmed by the addition of school to this jumble which we call life, but fear not: there’s a prescription for that.
At the beginning of the 2015 semester, Ave wasted no time in bringing in a specialist to address the best ways to balance spirituality and school in a way that will be beneficial to everyone involved. That specialist was none other than noted Theologian Dr. Mark Miravalle, who is known throughout the Church for his lectures on Mary and other relevant spiritual topics. His presence at Ave was a part of the Academic Convocation, a gathering that acknowledges past academic excellence while officially opening the next school year. At this year’s 2015-2016 Convocation, Dr. Miravalle presented an easily applicable list of ways that students can help apply the principles of Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy while living in the setting of a Catholic University. If you were unable to attend this informative delivery, fear not! The list, which is composed of five speculative and five practical points, is included in its entirety here:
1. Immerse yourself in the greatest intellectual tradition in all of human history. This refers to the culture of Catholicism. The Catholic Church has always searched for answers and reasons in the quest to glorify God… in fact, the very first University arose from the Church. This is an amazing inheritance, and it is one which we should be willing to not only receive, but to embrace.
2. Pursue the truth and human development, not just training. It’s one thing to merely learn the steps of a lesson, and it’s another thing altogether to pursue the truth of an idea and apply it to human life, whether it be your own or that of another. Although it’s easier to merely go through the motions, strive to really embrace the truth of what you are learning.
3. Obey the Magisterium. This sounds deceivingly simple, as if there should be something else following it, but it really is as easy as it seems. We have been given a Magisterium, which is guided by the Holy Spirit, for our own good. College is often a time of experiencing different viewpoints and morals, but we do not need to become confused… we have a teaching council that is there to answer the hard questions.
4. Celebrate the diversity found within the Church. The Holy Spirit flows where He wills and expresses Himself through all different types of cultures and personalities. Be open to understanding the diversity found among all the different lifestyles, spiritual approaches, and mindsets on campus.
5. Excel in your profession or specialization. It’s no secret that no one person will be an expert at everything they try. Some classes will be more difficult than others. Instead of bemoaning a lack of ability in all fields, focus instead on perfecting the one that you excel at. God might be calling you to pursue that area of study.
6. Establish a daily prayer schedule. There are four main pillars of prayer that a prayer schedule can and should be built upon: Daily Mass, Daily Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and Confession.
7. Establish a study schedule. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ll have time to do all of the homework later on… that is, until it piles up and you don’t know which way to even begin. By establishing a study schedule, you will save yourself a headache in the future and present better work that you can be proud of.
8. Respect your body. This covers both the terms of purity and the basic ways of taking care of yourself. Remember that the human body, your body, is a temple of the Holy Spirit, made in the Image and Likeness of God for a specific role in the course of humanity. Make sure that proper care of your body does not fall by the wayside in the complicated management of college life.
9. Check the daily headlines. There’s a reason that Ave is called “the bubble”: when living here, we can feel as if we are isolated from the rest of the world. This can be dangerous, because Christians are called to go out into the world and spread the Good News, not to hide it. Part of that calling is being aware of what is going on in the rest of the world so that we are informed of where our presence and prayers are needed. An easy way to keep up to date is to check the daily internet headlines (or to subscribe to the Gyrene Gazette, of course).
10. Consecration to Mary. Why wouldn’t you ask your mother to keep a special eye over you? Our entire University has been publicly consecrated to Our Lady, but making a personal consecration is always a great idea. There are consecration books available in the bookstore, and consecrations are usually done on Mary’s major feast days in December and March.
By following these ten points, we students will be able to apply the call to mercy both for ourselves and in the lives of those around us. They are all simple steps, easy to apply in a busy lifestyle, like a band-aid that fits perfectly. Following the Doctor’s advice will doubtlessly lead to greater ease of mind and, as a result, more academic excellence.