In the Voice of Moreau: Executive functioning is all the rage in psychology circles today. It refers to the ability of a person to gather data, analyze and prioritize that data, form a judgment about it and then make a decision. There are tests to assess one’s executive skills, online brain games to improve those skills, as well as therapies to help people understand their particular style of this process. I would like to suggest that while our society hits upon a core truth of the human person here, it blindly goes about training souls to think and choose well. Moreover, I would like to suggest that the one and only program that produces truly effective executive functioning is the Cross. Look upon our Lord, the Logos, the eternal Word and Wisdom of God. He has been analyzed and stripped; he has been exposed and inspected; in an instant, he is literally executed or finished. And the result? The light of the resurrection, the glory of the truth, shining forth into the life of the world. The Lord did not deserve the rigors of the Cross, but he did humble himself to the point of death in order to demonstrate this pattern of authentic human functioning. Dying and rising is what right thinking and right choosing look like. Indeed, the paschal mystery is the icon of true executive functioning, the self-help program that psychology has been searching for all along. Look to the Cross! Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Reply: Executive functioning is at the heart of what it means to be human. In fact, there is a large body of prenatal research that indicates that a fetus gathers information from the mother’s sensual experiences. For example, if a mother listens to classical music during her pregnancy, the assumption is that the baby “feels” something that is somehow imprinted upon the conscious mind. Our senses are designed to gather the information we need to flourish and to reproduce. When serious followers of Christ travel with Him on the Way of the Cross through countless birth/death scenarios, the hoped for result of data collection, analysis and decisions is to possess Heaven. For CSC educators Blessed Basil’s words about educating students for two worlds must ring clearly as we prepare classes and then interact with students. On October 31, the Congregation of Holy Cross recalled the 125th anniversary of the death of the Very Rev. Edward Sorin in 1893 at the University of Notre Dame. At the time of his death, he had spent 49 years in South Bend, Indiana building the University of Notre Dame du Lac. He did not do this without the assistance of priests, sisters, brothers and laypersons, who flawed as they were, reached beyond their weakness to achieve a collective goal. They desired to create a space where all would work as good citizens of this world and become worthy citizens of Heaven. While all university campuses run on executive functioning, the University of Notre Dame and every Holy Cross school shine forth with the unique and splendid glory of paschal life. Ave Crux Spes Unica!