I hope you are all doing well. I appreciate all of you and being with you on this special journey through the ups and downs of academic life at Notre Dame. I hope you know how much I love all of you and that I pray that you are reaching your dreams and goals.
I have been sad recently because of a climate that has overcome our country in which people do not respect every person. I am alarmed by language that puts people down and fails to bring us to love one another. I believe we were created in the image and likeness of God. That is what directs my life and motivates me to love everyone.
I was sad last night in Ryan Hall because I heard that there are some people who do not feel this is a loving community. It has shown up in a specific way in that someone has been erasing what a person writes on her board outside her room. This is not acceptable to do. This is not respecting the dignity of another human being. You may disagree, but there is a way to do this and it is by having the courage to sit down with a person and have a conversation. We need to learn how to talk to someone we might disagree with. This is the way that Christians or other people of faith accept each other. It is about the person you are speaking with and that he or she is deserving of love and kindness.
I was also happy last night because the person who has been attacked told seniors about this and they told her she was loved. I know I love her and will support her. The seniors of Ryan have learned during their three and a half years how to love through many experiences at Notre Dame, studying abroad and from the good things and the challenging things they have faced. Our experiences, both good and bad, teach us how to live and they help us gain the most fundamental fact of life. We are all created in God’s image and likeness and our life is about loving God and our neighbor. You will be judged by God at the end of your life by how you loved and if you accepted Jesus in your life by welcoming the stranger, visiting the sick, clothing the naked and feeding the hungry.
I pray that none of us will feel isolated or alone and that they are not loved. Fr. John Jenkins said at a Prayer Service after the election these words:
We are Notre Dame if we walk together. We are not Notre Dame if we are not together. Thank you for being you and remembering our Ryan Hall Community is based on love of everyone in Ryan Hall. I pray that we will be united.