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No. 34 • January - June 2002 • Page 96
 
 
 
 •  From the Prelate and the Auxiliary Vicar
 

Article on the University of Navarre, published in the weekly “Alfa y Omega”

To be faithful to the etymology of «university,» the University of Navarre fosters all fields of human knowledge, seeking both to augment them and to render society a real and effective service, a service to the truth that frees, that saves: Veritas liberabit vos. We want to help construct a rigorous and balanced body of knowledge, tested in its work of synthesis, free of reductionist attitudes, far from ideological deformations and the prejudices of intellectual fads.

Each discipline contributes in its own way to perfecting the individual and society. This common purpose means that all fields of knowledge can and should be inter-related, without losing their particular characteristics and methods. The University of Navarre wants its students to attain a professional training that will permit them to competently serve society and to benefit from an interdisciplinary dialogue. We want them to be imbued with a university and Christian spirit, acquiring an authentic ideal of human excellence that can help them live their life with rectitude and a spirit of service.

In these moments of history, humanity is particularly conscious of its limits and aspires towards profound and radical changes. The most recent experiences of this century show that events not based on a sincere search for the truth are not only futile, but in the end tragic. In the face of all this unrest, the present generation refuses to resign itself to disillusionment, seeking a foundation and a path for real hope. That foundation and path can be none other than the sincere search for the truth, because, in the words of Blessed Josemaría, founder of Opus Dei, «truth is always, in a certain way, something sacred-God’s gift, a divine light that leads us towards the One who is the fullness of light.»

The university, in fulfilling its proper mission, contributes efficaciously to the transformation and betterment of society. When we say that the university exists to serve the truth, we opt for a revolution that might appear lengthy, but that is, in the end, the only profound and lasting one. There is no greater realism than the daily effort based on hope and informed by love. The message of the Gospel, which leads to the fullness of the passage from Genesis-Yahweh looked at the world and saw that it was good-spurs us to a love that is shown in deeds. A love for the original goodness of all created realities, which recognizes in every man and woman, in that specific person who is now beside us, the marvelous dignity of the image of God.

The university, an institution dedicated to the integral formation of responsible men and women, has the task of making great cultural and scientific ideals a reality. Its success rests on the efforts of each generation to incarnate the truth about God and man in their own historic milieu. It rests on a multitude of simple, silent, apparently modest tasks, which demand human and intellectual honesty, solidarity, initiative, a spirit of collaboration, effort-that is, a high degree of virtue, of self-detachment, of magnanimity, of dedication to others. Those who regularly work in the university, both here in Navarre and in many other places, know well what rich fruit is produced by an ethics of service. An ethic that teaches men and women to finish their work well and to seek the good of persons and societies. In a homily given by Blessed Josemaría on this campus some thirty years ago, he referred to the words of Saint Paul: «In eating, in drinking, do everything as for God’s glory.» And he added: «This doctrine of Holy Scripture... leads you to do your work perfectly, to love God and mankind by putting love in the little things of everyday life, and discovering that divine something which is hidden in small details.» Thus even «the most insignificant everyday action» can «overflow with the transcendence of God. That is why I have told you repeatedly, and hammered away once and again on the idea, that the Christian vocation consists in making heroic verse out of the prose of each day.» He closed with these words: «Heaven and earth seem to merge, my children, on the horizon. But where they really meet is in your hearts, when you sanctify your everyday lives.»

Encouraged by this spirit, which proclaims the greatness of ordinary life, the faculty and staff of the University of Navarre base their efforts on the transforming power of work done with love; on the capacity of social regeneration contained in family ties; on an appreciation for personal freedom and responsibility; and on a lively sense of human solidarity, especially with the most needy. As chancellor, I feel it my duty to remind everyone involved in the university of these ideals, whatever their particular beliefs, which we respect because we love and defend freedom of consciences. Following the teaching of Blessed Josemaría, I am happy to stress that the Christian message about the sanctifying value of human work and daily life is a goal that meets the highest yearnings of persons and societies.

Bishop Javier Echevarría
Chancellor


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