The cry “I Thirst” from Jesus on the cross is usually associated with intense suffering, and justly so. He was pierced for our offenses and crushed for our sins. But “I Thirst” is also an expression of Jesus’ deep desire for a relationship with us–-quite literally, a thirsting for our love.
Reflections on Jesus’ last words are fitting for Lent, but what about afterwards, in the jubilation of the Resurrection? Can the words of the crucified Lord be applicable to the joyous weeks of the Easter season? The answer is: yes, they can, and the insights of Fr. Robert Conroy (MC) at a recent campus retreat helped AMU students figure out how.
Missionaries of Charity priest Fr. Conroy traveled from his residence in Mexico City to lead AMU students in a retreat on campus in the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel. Through talks, guided meditations, a holy hour and confessions, Fr. Conroy offered insights focusing on “I Thirst,” Jesus’ cry for souls from the cross.
“What’s your spiritual blood pressure?” Fr. Conroy challenged students. In other words, Where are your hearts? Are they guarded by Mary, present at the foot of the Cross, willing to suffer with Jesus for souls and to do His Will in all things? Considerations such as these, formed by the theme of the retreat, might seem incompatible with Easter, but Fr. Conroy gave advice on how the suffering of the cross carries us through to the joy of the Easter season.
We need to become spiritually childlike, he explained. Children are cheerful, even in the toughest times. The virtues of purity, humility, and total trust belong to children, and they can belong to us too if we present ourselves to Our Lady, our spiritual mother. She can give us hearts of children, hearts that are spontaneous, trusting, and eager to follow wherever God leads. “Stay with Mary,” Fr. Conroy urged. “Don’t be afraid. Pray the rosary, and she will show you the way!” The key to moving from Good Friday’s sorrow to Easter’s joy lies in Mary, Our Mother, who served the Lord with unabashed trust. She can show us how to “give Jesus the wine to drink of our service” and respond to His thirst for love.
Fr. Conroy, born in 1961 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a Missionary of Charity priest who works in both rural and urban areas with native peoples and the homeless, alcoholics, drug addicts, and gang members in prison. His ministry also includes retreat work with priests, religious, and lay people. He has been active for nearly 30 years in over 30 countries. He is currently editing the work of Fr. Joseph Langford, cofounder of the MC Fathers with St. Teresa of Calcutta, for future publication.
Contributed by Dr. Gabriel Martinez, Associate Professor of Business and Economics
The Economics Department of Ave Maria University is sponsoring a lecture series in the Spring of 2018. The speakers in this series are as varied as the topics, all of great current and lasting interest.
The first lecture in the series dealt with the effects of the Great Tax Reform of 2017.
On February 22, Naples attorney Kevin Carmichael and AMU professor Dr. Michael New spoke to a packed Lecture Hall about the recent Tax Reform Plan. Mr. Carmichael, a lawyer and a CPA with Wood, Buckel, and Carmichael, gave a thorough overview of the impact of the 2017 tax reform for individuals and corporations. Mr. Carmichael pointed out that the elimination of the personal exemption, even when combined with the expansion in the standard deduction, had to be compensated by an increase in the child tax credit in order to provide a next tax cut to (most) individuals. He also emphasized the complexity of the tax reform, a reflection of the complexity of the existing code and of the variety of interests that the reform intended to address.
Dr. Michael New focused on the political and electoral aspects of tax reform. Dr. New, Associate Professor of Economics at Ave Maria University, pointed out that there has been decreased Democratic support for GOP tax cuts over the years, with seventy percent of Democrats supporting tax reform in 1986 and no Democrats supporting it in 2017. Dr. New also pointed out two items that did not happen: a flat tax and entitlement reform. Support for a “flat tax,” although high in principle, tends to run into roadblocks as some deductions are very popular. And while entitlement reform may be perceived as a necessity, no one is willing to pay the political price.
Former New York State Supreme Court Justice Visits AMU for the second installment of the Economics Department Lecture Series.
On March 15, Judge Laura Safer Espinoza spoke to a standing-room only crowd about her work with the Fair Food Standards Council (FFSC). The FFSC enforces agreements between growers of tomatoes and other agricultural products, the corporations that buy the tomatoes, and the workers who harvest them. In reaction to horrifying violations of human dignity and basic human rights (many at Ave Maria’s doorstep in the town of Immokalee), the FFSC was formed in 2011 to oversee a unique initiative that consists of (a) supplementing workers’ misery wages with an extra “penny per pound” paid by the corporate buyers into a fund and (b) by a commitment on the part of the growers to abide by a code of conduct that rules out forced labor, child labor, and sexual assault and that improves workers’ health and working conditions.
Judge Safer Espinoza, a former New York State Supreme Court Justice, remarked that while the Florida farms had once been “ground zero for US slavery,” now they are considered to be a model for treatment of workers. The students were moved both by the dramatic change and by the imperative to get involved.
Lessons from 50 years of Social Experiments
On April 5, Dr. Walter Nicholson (Emeritus Professor of Economics at Amherst College and Visiting Professor at Ave Maria University) spoke on various social experiments carried out over the last 50 years and their impact on public policy. Economics is often criticized for not being an “experimental science,” a science in which theoretical propositions can be tested. In his lecture, Dr. Walter Nicholson evaluated how economists have addressed this complaint by conducting experiments “with the goal of testing out major policy proposals” over the last few decades.
Still another lecture remaining this semester!
The Economics department has organized one final talk in April. On Monday, April 16th, guest speaker Dr. Alejandro Cañadas of Mount St. Mary’s University will speak on “The Puzzle of Inequality – a Catholic Perspective.” The lecture will take place in Lecture Hall at 5:00pm. Come out to hear the final lecture in the Economics Department Lecture Series!
Sunday’s Annunciation Feast was celebrated with an abundance of joy by the staff and students at AMU!
What better way to observe Divine Mercy Sunday than to honor Mary’s “yes” to God’s will for her life?
Simple flower arrangements on the tables and lights strung above the academic lawn, set the scene for students and staff to enjoy the beauty of our campus while feasting, visiting, and dancing along to live music. Everyone was treated to a juggling show, music from AMU students, and the festive sounds of Irish-inspired folk music from Scythian.
With the sun going down, music filling the air and a plethora of joyful, smiling students, the trusting “yes” of Mary was beautifully celebrated.
Thanks to the thoughtful efforts of SGA for another successful Annunciation Feast at AMU!