Cultivate your heart this year
Joe Everett | Friday, September 1, 2017
“…the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart. While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for heaven.”
This quote from Fr. Basil Moreau illuminates, to the very core, that which can be so indescribably special about Notre Dame. As its students, not only are we growing and training to become productive and proficient members of society, but on a deeper level we are cultivating and conditioning ourselves to become better people — striving as best we can towards sainthood.
This is not a cliche statement, and neither is it an impractical goal. Notre Dame was founded with this educational ideal as its goal, and I believe, often in the little moments, that it is realized each and every day on this campus. From participating in an SSLP, lighting a candle at the Grotto, or simply embracing a friend after summer’s worth of distance, each and every one of us, whether we realize it or not, is glorifying God in our own individual way. When we commit to the idea that we are capable of doing small things with great love, the opportunities we see to actualize it increase, and from those small actions Notre Dame transforms into the place it was truly and always meant to be.
Personally, this outpouring of love and gift of self was no more apparent than during this year’s Welcome Weekend. The servant leadership poured out by our staff in Stanford Hall was incredible to witness as we welcomed over 60 of our new brothers into our cinderblock home. There were so many little moments of growth and cultivation throughout the weekend, but my favorite was during a midnight visit to the Holy Cross Ceremony, where our staff and the first years gathered around our rector with lighted candles and listened to the story of Our Lady’s University — and how each one of our life story’s is now interwoven with it. Each student that attends this University was meant to attend this University – for reasons that they currently or one day will come to understand. Within our years here, we are drawn into the very work of its founders – building a community of people dedicated to the cultivation of the mind and the heart.
So this year, remember and commit to cultivating your heart. School, grades, and our career aspirations are important, but not paramount. Oftentimes when people ask people our age what we want to do after college, they forget the deeper question of who we want to be after our years of formation here. Be strong, be kind, be courageous, be virtuous — be the men and women God created us to be, and help others along the way. Each student has this opportunity to be an incalculable gift towards the other, and by doing so our time at Notre Dame becomes fruitful and meaningful. While taking shape in different ways for each student, the opportunities are there. So treasure the moments and opportunities to cultivate your heart and become a better person, and discover the enduring beauty of this place. Father Moreau said it best:
“How we educate the mind will change with the times; how we cultivate the heart is and will remain timeless.”