| Sunday, October 3, 2004
Last Friday night six members of Notre Dame Peace Fellowship crouched on their hands and knees Sept. 24 and scrawled nonviolent messages in chalk on the sidewalks of Our Lady’s University. Sometimes while being cursed at, sometimes while being commended, these people quietly but publicly proclaimed their faith and their commitment to it. We were among them.
As members of Notre Dame Peace Fellowship, or NDPF, we are dedicated to gospel nonviolence, even in a world at war. We meet every week in the Center for Social Concerns to pray for peace, to read the writings of the saints and other great minds on issues of peace and justice, and to plan how best to raise awareness about issues of violence and war in our community.
We strive to keep the words of Jesus Christ and the human face of war in the hearts of minds of the Notre Dame community. We write quotes from Scripture around campus every football weekend, not because as Bill Rinner suggested, “we have a self-righteous urge to sell out [our] intellectual gifts” or because we wish to “defile” campus with “tacky” slogans, but because we are humbly trying to follow Jesus, to figure out what that means, to figure out what the Sermon on the Mount means. Sometimes it’s not until you write the words of Jesus for the hundredth time that you begin to understand their gravity or their consequences.
We write, “Love your enemies” and “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “Thou shalt not kill,” not because we know how to love our enemies, or how not to kill, but because we want to learn.
Most often our scriptural messages are erased within days of their conception. Sept. 26 the words of Jesus were erased from the sidewalk in front of the Basilica, presumably with water, before Sunday morning Mass. Perhaps, the sacristans agreed with Rinner that the chalk was not aesthetically pleasing, or perhaps they would prefer that communicants not be troubled with the controversial words of Christ, “Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you,” (Matt 5:44).
Cassie Herman and Anna Nussbaum
Co-presidents, Notre Dame Peace Fellowship