Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How Can We Use Justice to Bring Joy into our World?

Sydney Powers                                                                                                                              9/11/13
Dr. Ellis
How Can We Use Justice to Bring Joy into our World?

In works by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Robert Frost, Jill McDonough and Frances E. W. Harper, the idea of justice plays an essential role by serving to make amends with issues throughout these texts.  Justice is what God wants us to give and the Bible is crucial to this understanding.  Being part of a Jesuit community, I am more than willing to serve my time to help benefit others.  I will actively be promoting justice with every move I make by providing joy to those who need it most, and these works show how such joy can truly change lives.
In Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall,” the wall serves as a divider between two neighbors.  This wall not only separates the land between the two characters within the text, but it also serves as a peacemaker.  Due to the rough weather of the seasons, there is always something in the way of the wall being perfect.  The annual mending of the wall is what keeps these two neighbors happy and in social contact with one another, which is important to them.  This communication allows the two neighbors to be honest with one another and helps them work things out.  Figuratively, this wall is like the world, there is always something that needs to be done in order to make things better.  Rules and laws are the walls within society, and justice is the process of mending those walls.  The quote “Good fences make good neighbors”(27) describes our society; if we mend our community in positive ways, we then will have happy citizens.  Community service is like mending our wall, helping to spread faith and justice one step at a time.
Kolvenbach’s work “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education” focuses on what position Jesuits are to be taking and how serving justice will help fulfill such roles.  “Every discipline, beyond its necessary specialization, must engage with human society, human life, and the environment in appropriate ways, cultivating moral concern about how people ought to live together,” (36), this quote is like Frost’s point of working together to create a better outcome.  Community service is taking action on what needs to be changed, because only we can be the change in the world.  Kolvenbach’s work refers to the bible numerous times because it has such ethical and spiritual meaning.  In Frances E. W. Harper’s “Learning to Read”, all the main character, Chloe, wanted was to learn how to read so she could understand the powerful meaning behind The Bible.  When she was able to read what was within the Bible, she “felt as independent as the queen upon her throne” (44).  Having the honor to read the bible is that wondrous feeling of freedom.  The bible withholds some of the most powerful words ever to be written and it is such an honor to have access to such a profound piece of writing.
In Jill McDonough’s “Accident, Mass Ave.,” the accident was not as big of a deal as the two characters thought it was. The two people involved recognized there was nothing to worry about, no damage had been done, and they could easily move on with their lives with no harm.  The hard part was the emotions that came along with it, the anger, the worries, the regret, and the sake of being scared.  The imagery I got at the end of the poem truly was heart warming.  Humans will not learn if they do not experience.  Being put in a situation like that helps a person understand how naturally cruel we can be to one another.  If something doesn’t go our way, “What the fuck is going on? Jesus Christ!”(13).  That situation was resolved quickly through recognition that we all are here to live our lives happily.  A quote from Kolvenbach’s work helps us see that “Solidarity is learned through ‘contact’ rather than through ‘concepts’” (34).  We seem to better understand daily issues through experience.  Rather than just hearing about it, going through and working with a specific issue has a significantly greater effect on the individual.  Experience will allow the individual to find a greater joy in what is to come.

 Loyola’s Jesuit education is offered to us to help create better individuals through understanding.  Kolvenbach’s quote “Tomorrow’s ‘whole person’ cannot be whole without an educated awareness of society and culture with which to contribute socially, generously, in the real world.  Tomorrow’s whole person must have, in brief, a well-educated solidarity (34).”  Community service has, and will help me see the greater side of what has been given to me.  Offering what I have to others is such a gift that I greatly look forward to giving. 

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