University Traditions 2013: Response of Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ

Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ giving a response in the University Traditions book launching last March 11, 2013 at Ateneo de Manila University

Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ giving a response during the University Traditions book launching last March 11, 2013 at Ateneo de Manila University

by Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ
March 11, 2013
Ateneo de Manila University

Science today can be seen in many lights through many lenses. We hear that it is a social construct, made essentially by the rules of modern men and women who themselves are the products of their culture and their times. This is in contrast to the founders of science and the scientific method as enshrined in the paradigmatic trilogy of observation, theory, and experiment. The founders thought they were discovering the laws of nature, not inventing them. What started as a European enterprise spread to the limits of the world and today is a world culture. It transcends any one culture or time as its development in any culture or nation is seen as a sign of progress. As such, it is aspired to by all nations.

But in Jesuit education, science is something even more. Its light is not only to illumine the human mind but also to cast its brilliance upon the way to God. What started as the philosophia naturae is meant to lead to the philosophia humanae in the educational structure of Jesuit pedagogy.  This is nothing new.  It is the tradition in which St. Ignatius himself grew up intellectually.  It is another of the creatures whose in depth understanding cannot but lead to the Creator.  It is stepping stone on the path to God.

The language of science is mathematics but the language of the soul is prayer.

Earlier generations of Jesuits saw the humanities such as literature and language/culture as the best educational path to follow, the most luminous torch to guide the student to an understanding of the Self and so of God.  St. Ignatius has already told his followers that God constantly speaks in the depths of the Self.  Hence, the Ignatian Exercises are but hearing aids for the listening soul.

Enter science.  How is it humanistic?  It helps the questing spirit to enter the path of rigor guided by mathematical training.  It inspires the search in nature for its laws with faith in the rationality, not to say the beauty of the material world.  It helps to listen because it trains to listen well.

The end or finality of science is the human being.  The human quest to understand not only oneself but all the matrix that evolution has given each of us.  Science  is part of the gift the Creator has given to his creatures.

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About ateneophysicsnews
Physics News and Features from Ateneo de Manila University

2 Responses to University Traditions 2013: Response of Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, SJ

  1. I am looking for a D McNamara, SJ who might have been at Creighton in Omaha in the summer of 1970 …Sister Mary Helen, CK

  2. Pingback: Ateneo Physics Department to hold its 50th Anniversary on Oct 10, 2015: An interview with Event Coordinator Johanna Indias | ATENEO PHYSICS NEWS

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