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The light of Notre Dame

| Thursday, January 23, 2014

One of my favorite songs that I sing with the Folk Choir is “Siyahamba” or “We are marching in the light of God.” When listening to this upbeat spiritual, I can’t help but wonder what that really means — to march in the light of God.
For Notre Dame students, the opportunity to integrate faith with our lives is always right at our fingertips. Even if some of us aren’t Catholic or aren’t religious, Notre Dame facilitates the intertwining of spirituality and education for all those who desire to do so. We walk past the Basilica every day. We walk past Mary on top of the Dome. We walk past the Grotto, with candles aglow with those intentions we hold in the silence of our hearts.

While trudging through the snow-covered paths on our way to class, it’s hard not to feel like we marching, with the crunch, crunch, crunch of our boots keeping time.

Many times, though, it doesn’t seem like we are marching in the light of God at all. Instead, it feels like we are marching to our doom, through the wind, snow, sleet and hail of South Bend’s ungodly weather.

As the darkness of winter encloses around my frostbitten hands and my puffy black coat, at times I find myself distant from this light of God in which I should be marching joyfully.

Notre Dame has all sorts of people with all sorts of faith lives, or none at all. But at the core, I feel like everyone’s got a little “Siyahamba” in them. Somehow, Notre Dame inspires us to go beyond the cold we feel, inside and out.

Thomas Aquinas talked about the difference between formed and unformed faith. He said that faith without love and charity — faith without compassion for our fellow human beings, without love for the least, without charity to our brothers and sisters — was unformed.

See, in my eyes, what’s important about Notre Dame is not simply the faith and spirituality fostered here, but what people do with that faith. I know Notre Dame has helped form me into someone I’m proud to be, someone with a foundation in compassion, love, and charity.

Even on the darkest days, there is something about my Notre Dame experience and the Notre Dame community that fills me with a little bit of light. Most Domers agree: there’s something special here. I’m not sure quite why this place is so special to me, but as “Siyahamba” echoes of the Basilica walls, I start to have an idea. While we all might march to the beat of our own drummers, we are all marching in the light of Notre Dame’s mission: to love and to commit ourselves to making the world a better place.

Contact Gabriela Leskur at gleskur@nd.edu
The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Gabriela Leskur

Gabriela Leskur is Viewpoint Editor for The Observer. She is majoring in the Program of Liberal Studies and Anthropology. She works as a Marketing and Journalism Intern for the Notre Dame Alumni Association and sings in the Notre Dame Folk Choir in the spare time that normal people would spend sleeping or relaxing.

Contact Gabriela