A little help from our best friend at the beginning of a new semester

by Anna Blanch on August 28, 2008

The first week of each new semester is always particularly hectic. So it has been for me this week. I was reminded not once but twice yesterday of the student’s prayer by Thomas Aquinas. Whether we vaguely remember finishing some form of formal education in the last couple of decades or are immersed in an academic environment we could all use a little help!

Creator of all things, true source of light and wisdom,
origin of all being,
graciously let a ray of your light penetrate
the darkness of my understanding.

Take from me the double darkness
in which i have been born,
an obscurity of sin and ignorance.

Give me a keen understanding,
a retentive memory, and
an ability to grasp things correctly and fundamentally.

Grant me the talent of being exact
in my explanations and the ability ot express myself
with thoroughness and charm.

Point out the beginning,
direct the progress,
and help in the completion.

I ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Yesterday I was listening to a lecture by Jens Zimmerman, co author of Passionate Intellect: Incarnational Humanism and the future of University Education, wherein he pointed out that just because you are ‘saved’ does not mean you are not still ignorant. Bluntly put, You can be saved and still be stupid! His book, which I will try and review more thoroughly, at some point, maps out the importance of university education for Christians and attempts to reconcile many of the dualisms (particularly faith and reason) that have, potentially unneccessarily, become entrenched in our universities by challenging all of us to consider why it is we do what we do – to what end are our labours.

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