“Jesuit values” has become a phrase often seen and often referenced, but seldom processed as a part of Georgetown’s day-to-day experience.

We see these phrases all over campus — at least, when we’re looking. They are on banners draped from lamp posts, carved into concrete foundations, painted on the walls of Gaston Hall and sometimes even slipped into a class discussion.

Perhaps you have subtly dropped cura personalis in an interview or have been instructed to weave “contemplation in action” into an essay. No matter when or where, we have all become acquainted with the Jesuit values.

But how often do we truly acknowledge and apply the ideas that not only decorate our grounds, but supposedly also govern them?

The phrase “Jesuit values” has been used so loosely at this university that it has become a meaningless, trite pair of words. How do the mottos ad maiorem Dei gloriam and magis translate into anything meaningful to me? I’m just trying to do well in school, get a job after I graduate and drink pitchers of beer at Booeymonger on Thursdays.

Isn’t magis Latin for “more?” Should I have one more pitcher of beer at Booey’s to live out Jesuit values?

The ideas behind these values can often feel far away and abstract. Yet the Jesuit values are not some distant ideal: They are a daily reminder to treat others with care and decency right now.

These values guide us as we develop into the leaders of the world. They encourage us to be more compassionate individuals who put others’ needs before our own. They remind us that we each have a role to play in the betterment of society and the world at large. Moreover, these values can be applied in small ways in our everyday lives.

For example, just because these values encourage us to be “men and women for others” does not mean that we must all devote our lives to traveling around the world helping the poorest of the poor and donating every dollar in our name to charity. Though we do need people like that in the world, this lifestyle is not the only way we can fulfill the Jesuit values — rather, we can live out these values in our simple actions every day.

To perceive a divergence between the pursuit of Jesuit values and the pursuit of one’s own interests is to misunderstand the Jesuit mission.

A Jesuit priest once told me that at the core the Jesuits’ values is seeing God in all things. If we manage to do that, the rest will fall into place.

Seeing God in all things — and all people — is a skill to be learned and practiced immediately rather than something we should wait until after we graduate to do.

Embodying Jesuit values begins with how we act and behave among one another today. This campus is a training ground on which we prepare ourselves for the global stage. If we do not demonstrate our ability to care for the whole person and be men and women for others on campus, then we are not likely to do so in the next phase of our lives.

Thus, fellow Hoyas, I encourage you all to be attentive to your peers when roaming about. Greet those you pass with a warm smile or a welcoming, “Hey, what’s up, dude?”

Remember the power of the random acts of kindness you learned about in grammar school. Get involved with community service — there are plenty of easy ways to extend a helping hand at Georgetown or in the greater Washington, D.C. area. Strive for excellence in the little things — don’t settle for mediocrity!

These are all simple ways we can begin to live out the spirit of Georgetown that is encapsulated in its Jesuit values. Notice that they do not require a radical lifestyle change.

Neither your grades nor your career choice nor the amount of money you give to charity dictates whether your life embodies Jesuit values. The little actions you take now to live in a manner that respects and promotes the Jesuit values will become something greater later on.

So, next time you are hustling from the Walsh Building to St. Mary’s Hall, pick up your head. See the signs that adorn the pathways of the front lawn, but don’t stop there — read them, consider them and put them to good use.

Michael Poorten is a senior in the McDonough School of Business. The Round Table appears online every other Wednesday as a rotating column by members of the Knights of Columbus.

Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*