Belatedly, welcome back to the Hall! After being away for so long—it feels like ages since we were all sent home from campus last Spring—it is truly a gift to be back together in community, even if still partially virtual. “The Heart of the Hall” took the opportunity to expand our online platform by building up our website and social media pages. Still, we are thankful to have been able to publish this edition and share it with you in print once again.
These past few months have been for many of us at Seton Hall among the most difficult times of our lives. We have experienced loneliness and isolation in quarantine; fear and uncertainty in the face of this ongoing pandemic; anger and sadness at social injustices; tension and conflict over a polarized political sphere. Christ suffers with all who have lost loved ones to any of these conflicts.
Never have we been more aware how much is wrong in the world in which we live. Nevertheless, Christians remember that these ailments are nothing new, in the grand scheme. Sin and all its effects are as old as humanity. Recognizing this truth by no means implies that we should give up the fight; rather, it draws our line of sight up and outward, to a point where we can see—and thus better work toward—the light at the end of the tunnel. It is this outlook that our writers manifest this edition, offering concrete insights and inspiration for fellow SHU students, to cope with hard times and reach that vantage point.
First, Jessica gives us a biography of our beloved Seton Hall’s namesake, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton. Through Saint Elizabeth’s journey from Italian immigrant to American saint, she teaches us that we too can persevere in navigating new and difficult terrain with faith to guide us.
Next, Bridgette reflects on a disordered modern attitude—the pressure placed on women to meet false external beauty standards. She reminds us that when society’s definitions do not match God’s, we always find truth in His definitions.
Thomas relates his personal devotion with the Old Testament Song of Songs. His narrative encourages us likewise to turn to God’s word for strength and solace, when we need a spiritual retreat. Then Matthew observes and critiques the nihilism that pervades our nation today. He thoughtfully refutes this philosophy’s logic and calls for a renewal of our natural inclination to hope.
Finally, Ellen conducts an interview with Jessica Brinker, Seton Hall’s new Varsity Catholic missionary. Jessica talks about her path to FOCUS and Campus Ministry’s exciting new activities, adjusted to this extraordinary semester.
We hope you enjoy this Fall issue and take heart in its message of hope in the Lord. To borrow a line from Matt’s article (find the rest on page 10! ) “hope is […] a desire for an arduous good possible to be attained.” Hope for Christians is more than wishful thinking: through God’s grace, we have not only the wish but the EXPECTATION that dark times will not prevail. This is the hope that empowers the mission of Seton Hall, the hope that will carry us through.
Be well and God Bless.
By Emma Newgarden