All posts tagged: Notre Dame

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 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. Or, read the full text of Courtney’s reflection 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 …

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.” 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. 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: “Oh by the way, did you hear that Dad moved out?”  I’ll never forget those words.  I took them in silence.  Sure, 43% …

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 …

piano keys

Stories of Grace: Episode 7

“Like performing and articulating music, we are meant to develop our relationship with God so that we can perform mercy and articulate love to all of humanity.” Listen to Notre Dame junior Lacey Silvestri tell the story of being schooled in the grace of attentiveness through her impatience with playing piano. The full text of Lacey’s reflection is below.     We all have bad habits. Nail biting, hair twirling, maybe midnight snacking… regardless of what your habit is, this isn’t a foreign concept. And like anyone else, I too have my own bad habit, and it’s being inattentive…especially in prayer. And if I could go back and pinpoint just where this bad habit started, I think it’s safe to say that it all began at my childhood piano lessons. Now I started taking piano lessons when I was three, and ten years later I finally convinced my parents to let me quit. As you can probably tell, I never liked my lessons. Every time I ever walked into class with my teacher Mrs. Heajin, I pretty much only …

prayerful hands laying on head

Stories of Grace: Episode 6

“I cannot even begin to express how much that small bit of empathy meant to me. My idea of this monster I’ve been fighting for so long was beginning to be transformed by just five words.” Listen to Notre Dame junior Dani L’Heureux tell a story of the healing power of prayer, reflection and relationship.   Trichotillomania. Now, if you’re like most of this world, and me when I got diagnosed, you’re probably wondering what in the world just came out of my mouth, or if it is even in the English language, or if I just sneezed, or something. Unfortunately that wasn’t just a sneeze, and it is part of the English language, as it has been part of my everyday thoughts, outward appearance, and a cause of my heightened awareness and anxiety over how I look since I was 10 years old. This head of mine works in interesting ways, and I’m here to give you a little glimpse into that. In order to explain what trichotillomania is, I combined what I’ve encountered in …

broken loaf of bread

Stories of Grace: Episode 5

“My dad’s suffering allowed him to recognize suffering—in its many clandestine and unwelcoming forms—in others, and his common humanity and humaneness brought the humanity of others to the surface. It was a grace, to be sure, and one he practiced receiving. And not just in his living but in his dying, as well.” Listen to Colleen Moore, director of the Echo: Faith Formation Leadership Program, tell a story about her father’s witness to life and death made more, not less, by God’s grace. The full text is below. I wanted to be common like bread: so when the struggle came she wouldn’t find me missing. These lines from Pablo Neruda’s poem “Nothing More” were etched on a plaque, as a tribute to my late father, Denny, by a close friend of his. It hung on the wall of their local watering hole where my dad had gathered often with friends, colleagues, and strangers to recount the day or sometimes to forget it. It was a somewhat curious plaque with the Chilean poet’s words inscribed on …

Pilgrimage and Catechesis: Creating Space for Christ

Amid the honey-colored stone houses on a narrow street in the Mediterranean island of Malta, one building reveals a hidden gem.  At the back of the Dar il-Hanin Samaritan Conference Centre, the large reflection garden invites awe. Crisp, bright, and peaceful, the garden starkly contrasts its bustling, rocky surroundings. It contains prayer mazes, private reflection booths, and a fountain symbolizing Baptism that points to the architectural “cross” of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection. I had the privilege of walking through this garden last week, as one of 19 pilgrims to Malta, at the invitation of the Society of Christian Doctrine (SDC). Walking slowly through this physical space, I could not help but be drawn from the ordinary rush of life – into a stillness, a deeper contemplation. The task of Catechesis is to create such spaces: space for prayer, space to encounter the person of Jesus Christ, space to linger with the Word of God. Pope St. John Paul II wrote that “the definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but …

The buildings of Malta at sunset

By Sea and By Air: The Journey of the Gospel

Traveling by sea as a prisoner en route to his martyrdom in Rome, St. Paul was brought to the rocky shores of a small Mediterranean island with the debris of the shipwrecked vessel that hurled him with his captors and fellow prisoners into uncertain squalls. One thousand, nine hundred, and fifty six (or so) years later, I hope to descend on the island much more softly alongside 18 other pilgrims from Notre Dame, hopefully with all luggage in tow and in tact. Then as now, the unpredictable sway of the Gospel draws wayfarers towards a small and seemingly obscure destination: Malta. The pilgrimage that we make to Malta today with the support of Notre Dame’s Campus Ministry, Nanovic Institute for European Studies, and the McGrath Institute for Church Life is undertaken for two complementary reasons. First, Malta is a land that boasts of a rich Catholic culture—preserved, at least for a time, from the same pervasive secularizing currents with which much of the rest of Europe has moved. It is a land dotted with sites …