In the Voice of Moreau: The word “symbol” comes from two Greek words, “throw” and “together.” A symbol has meaning precisely because the concrete image has been thrown together with an abstract reality. When we see the symbol we are put in touch with the reality in some way. While some symbols, like an arrow, are functional, some, like a heart, are meant to arouse emotion, and others, like a dove, carry deep spiritual and religious meaning. The Cross, however, is a symbol that belongs in its own unique category. A Roman instrument of execution paired with the glorious body of our Lord does not point to a vague abstraction, but instead confounds the mind right where it is. Should I be seeing death or life? Should I be seeing darkness or hope? Should I be seeing shame or bold confidence? The truth is that we are witnessing both happening at one and the same time! Such a symbol demands humility and great effort to truly understand, but those who persevere will be handsomely rewarded with nothing less than the transformation of their souls. Let us therefore never avert our eyes from the Cross and in so doing become, ourselves, a symbol of Life for the world. Ave Crux Spes Unica!
Holy Cross Educator’s Response: Educators in Holy Cross schools are mandated to assist students to become living symbols of Life for the world. To that end teachers must instruct students to become virtuous scientists and mathematicians; lawyers and social scientists; artists and athletes. Leaders in every domain who are transformative motivators for Life. Science teachers such as Dr. Dominic Chaloner at the University of Notre Dame desire to develop the intellectual virtues and character dispositions that contribute to human flourishing or well-being, and include such things as intellectual curiosity, humility, honesty, and open-mindedness in their instruction. Dr. Chaloner’s focus is on “salmon research to understand the ecological consequences of migrating salmon, especially when they spawn in Southeast Alaska streams and Upper Great Lakes tributaries. Most recently, [he has] been interested in salmon as biotransporters of contaminants, including persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals.” Mathematics educators also must become convinced that their discipline “is not merely about teaching students a list of theorems, but is about teaching them how to do mathematics and how to be mathematicians. [T]hese aims involve the cultivation of certain mathematical virtues, like inventiveness, perseverance and open-mindedness.” The study of mathematical virtues provides valuable guidance for mathematical educators, and the wider process of inducting students into mathematical practices as valuable contributors. Blessed Moreau stresses that education “is the art of helping young people to completeness.” Living symbols of Life are persons who have appropriately integrated intellectual pursuits tempered by the promptings of the heart. Living symbols of Life build up the Body of Christ. Ave Crux Spes Unica!