Monday, May 7

The dream of Notre Dame

Obviously Notre Dame means something to me. My first marathon finished on the 50 yard line of that hallowed Notre Dame stadium.
There's just something about Notre Dame.
Last week, I was at the university for the Alumni Senate and the kickoff of the university's $1.5 billion fund-raising campaign.
Man, it was awesome.
And it was funny to be around people who had fun referring to themselves as obnoxious.
Saying things like, "We can be obnoxious. We say we didn't just go to college. We went to Notre Dame."
I love the way sometimes I say the name Notre Dame and my voice gets deeper.

What is it about Notre Dame? I can tell you the story I've been thinking about a lot since the weekend. The fundraising campaign is called The Spirit of Notre Dame and this really captures it for me.

Father Edward Sorin founded the university. In 1879, a fire destroyed the main building. It destroyed the spirits of so many people on campus. Sorin was away, about to go on a fundraising trip. He learned of the fire and returned.
And then he gave a speech in the basilica that included this awesome passage:

"The fire has been my fault. I came here with a vision of a great university and named it after the mother of Jesus. Then we built a large university, or so I thought. But she had to burn it to the ground to show me that my vision was too narrow and that I had dreamed too small a dream.
Tomorrow when the bricks are cooled, we will clean them and begin again. This time we will build a really large building and when it is built, we will put a gold dome on the top and we will crown it with a golden statue of Mary, the mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, so that everyone will know to whom we owe whatever great future God has planned for this university of ours. Even if it were all destroyed again, I shall never give up. "

So I've been thinking about that a lot. Have my dreams been too small? How can I live with myself, if the answer to that question is yes? The answer, quite simply, is that I can't.

I didn't know quite what to expect out of this trip to Notre Dame last weekend. But it turned out far better than I expected.



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