Monday, March 10, 2014

To Look at a Second Time

Student assembly address:

Let's take a JPII Trivia quiz--five questions, keep your own tally:

  • What is the Scripture saying in the gym in huge letters above the bleachers
  • What is the inscription underneath the statue of JPII in the courtyard? 
  • Where do you see the Latin phrase “Fides et Sapientia” on this campus?
  • Who is the donor of the Marian statue in our athletic center, according the plaque underneath the statue?
  • There is an inscription on the wall just outside the front of this auditorium—a rather long one. Who wrote it?
How did you do? I have a confession to make. I’ve been here six years and made up this quiz while I was at home, but when I came to the school this morning, I had to check my answers.

Just a brief thought about all this. It’s very easy, when we become familiar with where we live, to not pay close attention to the things around us. In our own homes, it’s easy to not notice the furniture.  It’s easy to do that with people, too. We see each other so much that we almost fade into the background of each other’s lives—there, but unnoticed and unappreciated. That’s even more so the case in this, the age of smart phones: I was recently on a bus full of adults, and every single one of us had our smart phones out, answering email or checking social media. So there we all were, crammed in together, but none of us was paying a whit of attention to each other.

The quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our relationships, and the quality of our relationships is determined by our attention to one another. Let us respect each other. “Respect” is an interesting word, because it literally means “to look at a second time.” May we respect those people around us, noticing who needs our attention, noticing who needs the word  of encouragement, who needs someone to listen to them, or perhaps simply needs a nod of acknowledgment.  No one likes to feel like the furniture.

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