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2018 New Year's Resolution

New Year's Resolution for 2018

Happy New Year, Santa Clara University!

This holiday season I had the great fortune to enjoy some of the vast beauty of our world in tranquil Laguna Beach. My photograph does not do justice to the powerful sunset I witnessed. This moment of encounter with nature provided me with time to reflect on my own fortunes, and help me develop my own resolutions for the new year.

When we make resolutions after reflection on the previous year, we are rejuvenated and excited for the opportunities to make positive changes in our lives. Unfortunately, as weeks turn into months, the energy for improvement often fades and likely we forget the promises we made to ourselves amid celebrations and toasts to new beginnings. Perhaps forgetting is inevitable. Perhaps we really are too busy to adhere to goals we made while sitting at home during the holiday break -- surrounded by family and friends, invigorated by the temporary respite from work, and relaxed by the unusual absence of long commutes. Perhaps our goals are too ambitious from the start. “Reality” sets in and suddenly our personal goals are sacrificed for “more important” obligations. This is where we, as a community, can play a significant role, being reminders that every day is an opportunity to make positive change.

I offer a communal resolution for the new year-- one seeking compassion, and manifesting our constant efforts to lift up each individual. If we strive to foster an atmosphere of empowerment, critical thinking, and camaraderie, we can work daily to inspire each other to speak out, to challenge assumptions, to question beliefs, and to encourage each other to respect and cherish one another. With this in mind, for 2018, let us live intentionally, learn voraciously, and love relentlessly. We are a community at our best when we are conscious of both our individual and collective abilities to change the world. Through our combined efforts this coming year, I am confident that Santa Clara University will remain a model of Jesuit values and a champion of humanity. May my wholehearted wish for a joyous new year reach you with unique conviction.

In the coming days, we will celebrate the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. In his commencement address to Morehouse College on June 2, 1959, he remarked:

We are challenged to rise above the narrow confines of our individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. The individual or nation that feels that it can live in isolation has allowed itself to sleep through a revolution. The geographical togetherness of the modern world makes our very existence dependent on co-existence. We must all learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or we will all perish together as fools. Because of our involvement in humanity we must be concerned about every human being.

I echo Reverend King’s call for humanity and concern for our fellow persons. We shall have disagreements; we shall make mistakes; but, we can always live, learn, and love with compassion and devotion. Let us not shirk this resolution, but remain steadfast in our resolve to be agents of change for a more just and sustainable world.

May we all live intentionally, learn voraciously, and love relentlessly so that peace may be contagious.

Michael E. Engh, S.J.