Archive for May 15th, 2009|Daily archive page

Notre Dame

May 11, 2009

Dear Members of the Notre Dame Graduating Class of 2009:

This Sunday, as you receive your degrees at Commencement, your joy – and that of your families – will be shared by the faculty, staff, and administration of the University. We have had the privilege of laboring with each of you to inquire and discover, to teach and to learn, and we will send you off with affectionate and fond hopes for the future.

During your years here we have endeavored to train you in the various disciplines and urged you to ask the larger questions – discussing not only the technical and practical but also the ethical and spiritual dimensions of pressing issues ….grappled with intellectual, political, and spiritual questions. ….The decision to invite President Obama to Notre Dame to receive an honorary degree and deliver the Commencement address….Yet, there has been an extra dimension to your debate….You engaged each other with passion, intelligence and respect…..At the same time, and born of the same duty, a Catholic university has a special obligation not just to honor the leader but to engage the culture. Carrying out this role of the Catholic university ….we must be a place where people of good will are received with charity, are able to speak, be heard, and engage in responsible and reasoned dialogue.

The President’s visit to Notre Dame can help lead to broader engagement ….on matters of human life and human dignity…..Remember, though, that this day is your day.

In Notre Dame,

Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.


The end. King Lear. Elizabeth Edwards. Health care. Teddy Kennedy. Capitalism. Graduations. Obama. Notre Dame. The restlessness.

Infidelity: Elizabeth Edwards on her husband. It was “as if he embezzled from the entire family.” Embezzling intimacy. The restlessness of a man.

Notre Dame. Graduation. Speeches. Classic religious education and graduation: how many kids today can look at the Pieta and see anything? How many adults? The restlessness, to do something. The restlessness, mine, at the age of 22.

Graduations. Obama. Notre Dame. The letter. About being engaged in the real world. Engaged not so much with suffering as with sin. Would all these American bishops come down on Pope Benedict if he elects to meet President Obama in Rome when he is there for the next G7, G8, or G20 meeting come July? Holy Gee!

The new world order. In a world without regulations. The restlessness, on display. Capitalism and the new business model. It was about scalping. Wanting the best price. Pure market conditions, without regulation. Scalping junk. Engaged in the world, but not seeing the cost of scalping.

Old ways don’t work in a world of cheaters. It was as if they had embezzled from the entire family called civilization. The human condition. In a world that no longer listens, nor is listening.

The sick. The elderly. Health care. Capitalism. Retirement. Redoing it all. Counting the cost. Leadership. Engaged. The restlessness, on display. But with actual collegiality and listening.

The restlessness in sickness. The connection of my body to my soul: when you are feeling bad. An eye disorder.

The restlessness in the elderly. The separation of the soul from the body at death. The restlessness, on display in Shakespeare’s King Lear.

The restlessness, on display at that party in Omaha with college classmates. Thirty-some years later. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

The human condition. Engaged in the world. The restlessness. The restlessness in the young. The restlessness in the elderly. Abram, with a new name.
The Pieta. On display. The restlessness in the elderly. Reconciliation. The restlessness of the artist.

“Pain is a powerful motivator.” The power in pain and suffering. Motivating people to do what? A powerful motivator even to people who are powerless. The human condition and restlessness. In search of something.

Leadership. Engaged. The connection of my body to my soul. The restlessness, on display in the connection of my body to my soul. In youth. In King Lear. In that sculpture, the Pieta.

Listening. Listening to the connection of my body to my soul. The part of praying called listening. Priesthood. Listening to the restlessness. Abram, with a new name. Making the connection of my body to my soul. Be still!

Graduation speeches everywhere. At a time of spring. It was a time to be still. The time to listen.

The equity in the knowing. The part of God, on display, revealed to me. On my knees.

What is it that makes this day holy? What is it that is making me holy? The attempt at it anyway? The education. Falling on my knees, in sickness. Seeing and feeling the inadequacy of it all. Of me. Of this human condition. In comparison to the Creator.

The part of God, on display, revealed to me. My share. Then sharing my share. Priesthood. Actual engaged leadership. In the world. Listening.

Graduated. Collegiality and listening.