Education as Transformation at Regis College
To some, this might seem like a good lifestyle in the context of Canadian society: going through the motions, entertained, helping out a bit, without feeling really moved by the depth of the pain that our world is in.
The experience of my first semester at Regis College in Toronto, Canada, has further pushed me to further realize that neither the job nor the money nor my relationships bring true peace if I do not live them for the greater good of others and in God; if I do not listen to His voice and get behind Christ’s project.
The “Christ Project” is a concept embraced by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in his book The Divine Milieu. According to de Chardin, God’s plan is not just for each human being to be “saved,” but also that we humans, working together as a collective of bodies and souls, would contribute in the creative work of a universal good. This project “encompasses the entire evolving universe and it aims to bring creation (along with all of us) back to God, fully conscious of our divine origin and divine destiny.”
More specifically, I have been moved by the situations of social injustice covered throughout several of the classes.
For instance, learning about the generosity of those who have “the least,” such as Teresita de Jesus, one of the thousands of Guatemalan refugees in Canada, touched my heart. Moreover, it brought a significant sense of guilt. Like many, she lived paycheck to paycheck, working two jobs, supporting her son. And she still had enough to donate $30 per month to South American children in need.
The testimony by an indigenous teenager, Shannen Koostachin, also struck a deep chord: “The (federal) minister said there’s no money for our school, but then I looked at his office and told him: ‘I wish I had a school as nice as this.”
Cases like Shannen’s abound. 40% of Indigenous people have not graduated
from high school, and as much as 20% of adults have attempted suicide.
Ultimately, the content in my course enabled me to understand the broader reality and the fact that powerful systems and institutions have caused much of this damage. I was also able to find a glimpse of hope. In the same way that systemic evil exists, our work can facilitate systemic grace.
A different mission
Not too long ago, one of my colleagues made an observation that came to mind again and again during our classes. He said that “it is unfortunate that some of the most brilliant minds in the world are now using their skills to solve some of the least important problems.” Sadly, he was talking about the work that he and I currently do.
Beyond building new habits, my time at Regis so far has made me more aware of my responsibility to be an agent of change and contribute to the healing of
our world. And, as cardinal Blase Cupich says, healing and reconciliation should not be rhetorical nor limited to a few areas of our life but reflective of our commitment to always work for the greater glory of God’s project.
If I am called to be an agent of good for our shared home and those in it, how and when should I live that vocation? In other words, what would it mean to live for the service of others with all my heart, mind, body and soul?
I am left with those questions and ask God for the grace to find answers sooner than later.
As Frederick Buechner once said, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”