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Justice in action

| Monday, September 11, 2017

The core value this year at Saint Mary’s is justice and this core value couldn’t come at a more opportune time, in my opinion. Recent events such as the ending of DACA, the U.S.’s departure from the Paris Accord and the violence in Virginia have us all questioning the state of justice in our country. But for me, justice is very much alive in my Catholic faith.

In the Catholic Church, justice is respecting all people because of their God-given dignity. It is recognizing that all humans, regardless of race, gender, age or ability are valuable and equal. We each deserve the same amount of love and respect and we all should be treated equally. God made everyone and everything equally and it is up to us to act as such.

As a Campus Ministry student employee, I’ve had the Catholic definition of justice drilled into me quite a bit during the first few weeks of school. But knowing the definition and acting on the definition are two very different things. I want my year with campus ministry to reflect the core value of justice. I want to learn more about students from different faith backgrounds, help others, get involved in the community and treat everyone I meet with respect. I don’t want to waste my time trying to distance myself from other students who were created by the same God who created me. Instead, I want to grow closer with them.

I’m always surprised to hear that some of the same people who chant about building walls and sending people back to where they came from also consider themselves Christians. When I read the Bible and Jesus’ teachings, I don’t see anything about trying to separate or create distance between groups. I read about Paul traveling around the world to show love to people of different origin than himself, and inviting Gentiles into the Christian tradition even though they were different. I read about Jesus showing love to the poor, blind and lowly. I read that God loves all of his creation equally and is always willing to open his love to anyone, no matter what.

And when I look back on the history of Holy Cross, the congregation that founded our schools, I again don’t see any discrimination. I see young men and women who immigrated here in hopes of starting a better life and providing for others. Our schools were founded by immigrants who believed in the power of education, just like the DACA students some want pushed out. I don’t think Father Sorin or Sister Madeleva would close their doors to any student eager to learn, no matter what their citizenship status.

The mission of the Sisters of the Holy Cross says they “rejoice in being an international and intercultural congregation.” Paul’s letter to the Galatians says that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Perhaps we, as students at a Holy Cross school and citizens of the world, should embrace diversity and be kind to all, regardless of differences.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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