All posts tagged: Notre Dame

Whose Community? Which Benedict Option?

In our present cultural situation, it has become common for Christian thinkers to hold up St. Benedict as a paradigmatic example of how to navigate an increasingly secular society. This phenomenon can be traced back to the well-known conclusion of Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1984 work, After Virtue, wherein he anticipated the coming “of another—doubtless very different—St. Benedict,” who could help us to survive “the barbarism of the new dark ages.”[1] At the time, MacIntyre did not go into great detail about what precisely this Benedictine renewal would look like, simply indicating that it would involve “the construction of local forms of community within which civility and the intellectual and moral life [could] be sustained.”[2] Since the publication of After Virtue, Christian thinkers from across the theological spectrum have appealed to MacIntyre’s “prophecy” as a visionary spark for their own renewal projects. To highlight just two: Rod Dreher, well-known blogger and convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, popularized the term “Benedict Option,” and recently published a 250-page tome detailing his “strategy for Christians in a post-Christian nation.” Dreher says …

The Pondering Heart: Notre Dame’s Special Consecration to Our Lady

The start of each academic year indicates a season of rejoicing in new beginnings. The commencement of this academic year, however, also invited the Notre Dame community to engage in a year-long process of remembering. On November 26 of this year, our community will celebrate the 175th anniversary of the founding of Notre Dame. This will be a year of celebration, a year of honoring and remembering those who have gifted us with Notre Dame. Standing out amidst the countless individuals who have contributed to the foundation and growth of our university are Blessed Basil Moreau, founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, and Fr. Edward Sorin, one of the first Holy Cross priests and founder of our university. As we begin this year of thanksgiving and remembrance, it seems appropriate to give special attention to these two holy men, both of whom carried within them a deep love for the holiest of women, Notre Dame, Our Mother. In a letter addressed to the Holy Cross priests, brothers and sisters on the Feast of the …

Editorial Musings: Nourishing the Imagination, Renewing the Church

As I write this week’s editorial musings, the McGrath Institute for Church Life is engaged in final preparations for our annual summer programming. We will welcome to the University of Notre Dame liturgical and sacramental catechists, facilitators of our online theological education program, youth and campus ministers, high school students, young adults, teachers of science and religion, priests from around the country, and master’s students preparing to work in ministry in the Church. Our summer programming functions as a kind of sacramental sign of the Institute’s mission in the Church. Through nourishing the Catholic imagination of those ministers with whom we partner, we seek to renew the life of the Church. The language of imagination and renewal has been chosen with great care. The imagination is not a matter of mere fancy, engaging in a “make-believe” world. The imagination is that capacity that we have as human beings to see the world anew through the images and narratives that nourish us. As James K.A. Smith writes about the formation of the imagination: . . . we …

Celebrating the Easter Season, Part 5: Young Adults

Over the past couple of years, I’ve struggled with the transition from Lent to Easter.  I think it’s because I spend more time thinking about living into Lent than the season of Easter.  After all, Easter’s not a celebration that lasts just for a day–but fifty. But the day itself is pretty cool. The smells, the bells..the weather…if I’m lucky.  It feels like a fresh start.  But a few weeks into the season, I’ve already found myself returning to ‘normal.’ At 26, my normal is filled with more bad habits than I would like to admit.  I’m busy; I overcommit; I use technology more than I should. But I trust Easter’s message, that old ways are dead and new life reigns.  This can’t just be an intellectual exercise, but something that is lived.  Here’s three ideas about how to do it. Cultivate practices of gratitude During Easter, we are able to see Jesus for who he really is–the one who has redeemed humanity.  Under the light of his truth, we are invited to celebrate and …

rosary

Stories of Grace: Episode 14

“I am dust. I feel like dust, or at least, like I am worth as much. I can’t sleep, so I kneel beside my bed, close my eyes, and silently ask God, “Why me?” Visit here to listen to Notre Dame senior Leah Jacob tell the story of a grace of a God who longs to save us. Subscribe to the free Stories of Grace podcast on iTunes U and receive automatic notifications when a new story is published. The full text of Leah’s reflection is below. I am… COLD December 2013 I am cold and alone with the monsters in my head. They are whispering—always whispering. Reminding me I’m not good enough. Not small enough. Not skinny enough. It started when I walked into the dining hall on the first day of freshman year. Not wanting to put forth the effort to wait in line and explore the food options, I settled for a salad. A spinach salad, mind you, with plenty of other healthy additions like edamame and chick peas and carrots. A healthy …

Stories of Grace: Episode 12

“It’s a messy business, drowning in God’s love and grace.” Visit here to listen to senior John Lee tell the story of encountering the humbling grace of God in the breaking of the bread. Subscribe to the free Stories of Grace podcast on iTunes U and receive automatic notifications when a new story is published. Read the full text of John’s reflection below. Humility After Pride On the 29th morning of October in the year 1994, my mother lost her favorite rosary when she flung it across the hospital room, and broke my father’s hand as she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. They named him John after John the Baptist, because like Elizabeth, my mother had given birth to her first child later in life. They brought him back home to love and cherish forever. Growing up as a cradle-Catholic, I thrived within my Catholic bubble. I absorbed everything in my religion classes, and I loved the stories in the Bible. However, my family and I lived in Los Angeles, and trying to keep a …

A Chair and a Half

Praised be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, he who in his great mercy gave us a new birth; a birth unto hope which draws its life from the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; a birth to an imperishable inheritance, incapable of fading or defilement, which is kept in heaven for you who are guarded with God’s power through faith; a birth to salvation which stands ready to be revealed in the last days. As any good preacher does, I paid my due diligence and researched the history of 1 Peter for this occasion. It was clear to me that this reading for today was the blessing prefacing a longer teaching; but when was it written and to whom? That’s when I came across this explanation from a commentary: “[We] suggest [an authorship] . . . after the death of Peter and Paul, perhaps A.D. 70–90. The author would be a disciple of Peter in Rome, representing a Petrine group that served as a bridge between Palestinian origins of Christianity …

Stories of Grace: Episode 10

“We were not capable ourselves of the relationship we were gifted. Yet our obstacles were as nothing to God’s grace.” Visit here to listen to Notre Dame junior Courtney Morin tell a story of love, trust, and grace encountered through the adoption of her little sister. Subscribe to the free Stories of Grace podcast on iTunes U and receive automatic notifications when a new story is published. The full text of Courtney’s reflection is below. Eight-and-a-half years ago, my parents’ asked me how I would feel if my family were to adopt a new sibling. Then they changed their minds—actually two new siblings, they said. Nine months later during my seventh grade year, my dad, who doubled as my soccer coach, showed up to soccer practice with a thick manila folder tucked under his arm. In it, was a referral from our adoption agency. Delighted, we poured over the folder’s photos of two little children from halfway across the world, destroying the pronunciation of their names which would eventually become so familiar to us in their …

Holy Family in stained glass

Stories of Grace: Episode 8

“There isn’t a tidy bow that I can wrap on this story. But, I learned, it’s not the bow that makes things beautiful; it’s the gift of life itself.” Visit here to listen to Alex White, a graduate student in the Echo program and a theology teacher in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, tell a story of family and finding God who gently holds the world. Subscribe to the free Stories of Grace podcast on iTunes U and receive automatic notifications when a new story is published. The full text of Alex’s reflection is below. Io ho una gran famiglia italiana pazza.  I have a crazy and large Italian family.  The first 18 years of my life were drenched in love and pasta sauce.  Being loud and affectionate was the name of the game and if you didn’t agree, “Eeehhhh, wassa matta youuuu?” I came to college at Notre Dame and was blazing through my first semester when I got a phone call from my brother, Austin.  Just before my brother hung up, he threw this line at me: …

The Problem of Experience

Many people keep a box of mementos from their childhood and fill it with things that help them recall fond memories or important moments from their youth. When young adults head off to college or start their first real job, a new phase of their life begins. At this point, nothing more is likely added to that box of memories and it is stored away as a new experience begins. Thus, this cycle often continues and each experience is compartmentalized until one’s life becomes a stack of metaphorical containers, separate and unique, but not wholly unified. How often do we hear the exclamation, “What a great experience”? The word “experience” is often used to refer to something that has occurred in the past or will conclude, something that can be summed up and added to a plethora of other experiences. But have we really considered how these experiences shape us as persons – as sons and daughters, as friends, as future spouses and perhaps fathers and mothers, etc. – or do we become so caught …