University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame


It is all about hope

The other day, I went with a group of friends to serve at Our Lady of the Road, an arm of the South Bend Catholic Worker which provides hot breakfast and shelter to those in need Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings.

In regards to why we are called to serve others, such as in the way of all those at the Catholic Worker, I have often heard cited this quote of Jesus: “From the one who has been entrusted with much, much will be asked” (Luke 12:48). We, especially as Notre Dame students, have so many blessings, and so it is a matter of charity and justice to share those blessings with others.

I realize you have probably heard this a lot too, but I would like to offer you a new spin on this whole idea of serving others that I have thought about a lot.

It is all about hope.

As I was serving breakfast to our guests, I overheard a man talking to one of my friends. I am not sure what the circumstances were that brought him there that day, but despite his joblessness and homelessness, this man was bubbling over with hope. I heard him speak of this new part time job he got at a local shop, and how he truly believed this gift from God was the start of a new phase of life for him, one in which he would work as hard as he could to be able to contribute to his community to the best of his abilities. “It is amazing to see what the Good Lord places in our paths when we least expect it!” he announced with joy.

In that kitchen early Saturday morning, I saw what hope truly is. I also reflected on what hope is not. Often I use “dream” and “hope” as one in the same word. But after thinking about my own dreaming and hoping, I have found that while through dreams we project our desires for the future in the context of certain circumstances in our lives (realistic or not), it is through hope that we can smile at a completely unknown future, with the assurance not of an easy journey or an understanding of the meaning of certain events, but of the notion that the good work we do for others will resonate with people through time, so that the good we do today will help people that we do not even know.

Life as a Notre Dame student is intense. We realize we are so blessed, but the challenges of the “balancing act”—juggling school, sports, extra-curriculars, friendships, all while striving to get at least a few hours of sleep a night—can be daunting, frustrating.

But that is when hope comes in for the win. As a Christian, I believe that God promises us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). And so instead of being nervous about your future—whether it is that test on Thursday, or your GPA at the end of this year, or what your meant to do post-Notre Dame—I encourage you to just stop and smile (maybe even laugh!)! Know that as long as you are alive, doing “the best ya can with what ya got” and in your own special way, giving back to others in thanksgiving for what you have received, you are positively affecting the lives of people in ways you will never even understand, just as that man at Our Lady of the Road inspired me in this way I just described, which he will probably never even know.

So I challenge you: how will you show and share hope this week?