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If not now, when?

Observer Viewpoint | Thursday, January 26, 2006

Before the new semester picks up too much speed, I would like to invite you to take advantage of some of the programs Campus Ministry offers during the second semester.

There are a number of retreats that are available in the coming weeks including two Notre Dame Encounter offerings, two freshmen retreats, a retreat for seniors who are members of one of our ROTC units, a senior retreat, a spring Latino retreat, a women’s retreat, and a retreat for Gay and Lesbian Students.

Information about all of these retreats and others are available on our newly renovated web site – www.campusministry.nd.edu

When I talk with some of you about our retreat programs, many of you tell me that you already made a retreat during high school. Yet these opportunities are offered for your spiritual growth in the context of offering you time to get away from your normal routine, make new friends in addition to the ones you talk into joining you for the weekend that appeals to you most, and simply to spend a little time in prayer and with your God.

St. Augustine tells us that there is a part of the heart of each one of us that only God can fill. Many thousands of books have been written by our spiritual ancestors in the faith which describe how this process took place in their lives.

In our quest to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ, our hearts are not filled with God and God’s love once and for all. Rather, as we respond to the God who can make us whole, we gradually come to realize how insatiable God’s love for us is, and how rewarding it is for us to respond God.

Many hundreds of students can tell you how important a one or two day retreat with us has been in their lives. Often they will say that, for whatever reason, the retreat they enjoyed came at the right time during their time at Notre Dame although they had not planned it that way.

A number of you know that you want to spend more time developing your spiritual life, but it seems as though your life under the Dome will last forever. But it doesn’t.

If one of the reasons you chose Notre Dame for your undergraduate education was because of its rich and living Catholic heritage, and your own desire to incorporate everything Notre Dame has to offer you, please take a moment to think whether or not this might be the right time for you to pay closer attention to becoming more whole-hearted by inviting God into your life.

A lot of things about you have changed since you went on that high school retreat. You are not the same person today you were then. Maybe it is time to find out how much you have grown in your desire to deepen your relationship with Jesus Christ and with the Church. Maybe this is the semester when you will begin to take full advantage of the extraordinary richness of what your time at Notre Dame can be for you.

Father Richard V. Warner, CSC, is the Director of Campus Ministry. He can be reached at Warner.2@nd.edu.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.