That All May Know You

I once read a story about a very successful Japanese businessman who had been elected as CEO and went to meet the Company Board for the first time. He was carrying a box that he set on the table as he sat down. Without saying anything he opened the box and took out a container shaped like a Japanese doll and set it in front of the Board members. Again without saying a word he lifted the lid of the doll container and took out a smaller container from inside it and set it in front of the bigger container. He then took out another doll-shaped container from the second container and so on, until there were five doll-shaped containers on the table, arranged from biggest to smallest. As the Board members regarded the containers, the CEO asked them, “which of these containers do you think represent me?” Without hesitation everyone pointed to the biggest container, but the CEO shook his head. Pointing at the smallest container The CEO said that the secret of a successful CEO was having the humility to hire people smarter than himself, and hiring people who had the humility to hire people smarter and bigger than themselves. Self-centeredness, he said, had no room in running a huge empire, and certainly was no match for the infinite universe that enclosed all of us.

This story took me to reflecting on the sad road that the secular world has taken learning and knowledge, a turning away from their infinite source, into a world anchored upon the belief that the human mind is the center and source, the biggest and ultimate force in the universe, and that humankind could find meaning and fulfillment without God. These same schools though that now espouse this secular thinking actually began their roots in Christian values and most of them still contain in their mottos a remnant of how God used to be the center and goal in their search for wisdom and knowledge. Even Ivy League Schools like Harvard has “Veritas, Christo et Ecclesiae” (“Truth, for Christ and the Church”); Brown University has “In Deo Speramus” (“In God We Hope”); Princeton University has “Dei sub numine viget” (“Under God’s power she flourishes”); Darthmouth College has “Vox clamantis in deserto” (“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”); Yale University has “Lux et veritas” (“Light and truth”); Columbia University has “In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen” (“In Thy light shall we see the light”). By looking back at the mottos of these schools we can see the magnificent hand of God and how He has nurtured our nation with the fruits of His Wisdom:

American University: “Pro deo et patria” (“For God and Country”)
Brown University: “In deo speramus” (“In God we hope”)
University of California: “Fiat lux” (“Let there be light”)
Caldwell College: “Sapientia Et Scientia” “Wisdom and Knowledge”)
The Catholic University of America: “Deus Lux Mea Est” (“God Is My Light”)
Colgate University: “Deo ac Veritati” “For God and for Truth”
College of Wooster: “Scientia et religio, ex uno fonte” (“Knowledge and religion from one source”)
Columbia University: “In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen” (“In Thy light shall we see light”)
Dartmouth College: “Vox clamantis in deserto” (“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”)
University of Denver: “Pro Scientia et Religione” (“For Knowledge and Religion”)
Drew University: “δωρεαν ελαβετε δωρεαν δοτε” (“Freely you have received, Freely give” -Matthew 10:8)
Duke University: “Eruditio et Religio” (“Erudition and Religion”)
Fordham University: “Sapientia et Doctrina” (“Wisdom and Learning”)
Furman University: “Christo et Doctrinae” (“For Christ and Learning”)
Gallaudet University: “Ethpatach” (“Be opened” – Mark 7:34)
Gardner-Webb University: “Pro Deo et Humanitate” (“For God and Humanity”)
George Washington University: “Deus Nobis Fiducia” (“in God is Our Trust”)
University of Great Falls: “In lumine tuo, videmus lumen” (“In Your Light we see the light”)
Hendrix College: “Eις ανδρα τελειον” (“Unto the whole person” – Ephesians 4:13)
High Point University: “Nil Sine Numine” (“Nothing Without Divine Guidance”)
Indiana University: “Lux et Veritas” Latin Light and Truth
Johns Hopkins University: “Veritas vos liberabit” (“The truth shall make you free”)
Johnson C. Smith University: “Sit Lux” (“Let There Be Light”)
Lenoir-Rhyne University: “ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς” (“The truth shall set you free”)
Loyola Marymount University: “Ad maiorem Dei gloriam — Tua Luce Dirige” (“For the greater glory of God. — Direct us by thy light”)
Loyola University Chicago: “Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam” (“For the greater glory of God”)
Manhattan College: “Signum Fidei” (“Sign of Faith”)
Marietta College: “Lux Et Veritas” (“Light and Truth”)
Marylhurst University: “Cor Sapientis Quaerit Doctrinam” (“The wise of heart seek knowledge” Proverbs XV)
Niagara University: “Ut Omnes Te Cognoscant” (“That All May Know You”)
University of Northern Colorado: “Sapientia In Aeterum Est” (“Wisdom is eternal”)
University of Notre Dame: “Vita, Dulcedo, Spes” (“Mary, our Life, Sweetness, and Hope”)
Princeton University: “Dei sub numine viget” (“Under God’s power she flourishes”)
University of Richmond: “Verbum Vitae et Lumen Scientiae” (“The Word of Life and the Light of Knowledge”)
Syracuse University: “Suos Cultores Scientia Coronat” (“Knowledge crowns those who seek her”)
University of Tulsa: “Wisdom, Faith, Service”
Valparaiso University: “In Tua Luce Videmus Lucem” (“In Thy Light We See Light”)
University of Washington: “Lux sit” (“Let there be light”)
Wheaton College (Illinois): “Christo et Regno Ejus” (“For Christ and His Kingdom”)
University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Numen Lumen” (“God, our light OR The divine within the universe, however manifested, is my light”)
Yale University: “Lux et veritas” (“Light and truth”)
Harvard University: “Veritas, christo et ecclesiae” (“Truth, For Christ and For the Church”)
Brown University: “In Deo Speramus” (“In God We Hope”)
Columbia University: “In lumine Tuo videbimus lumen” (“In Thy light shall we see the light”)
Dartmouth College: “Vox clamantis in deserto” (“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”)
Harvard University: “Veritas, Christo et Ecclasiae” (“Truth, For Christ and the Church”)
Princeton University: “Dei sub numine viget” (“Under God’s power she flourishes”)
University of Pennsylvania: “Leges sine moribus vanae” (“Laws without morals are useless”)
Yale University: “Lux et veritas” (“Light and truth”)
(Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_university_mottos)

We have looked back, and hopefully we were given glimpse of how it should be for knowledge to be ordered with humility toward the ultimate source and cause of our being. It should rightly guide us when we ask questions like, “who am I?” or “what is my purpose in life?” or “what is the ultimate source of joy?” or even the simple question, “why do you go to school,” or “why do you want to learn?” For this last question I like Niagara University’s motto best of all: “Ut Omnes Te Cognoscant” – “That All May Know You.”

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