Dear Our Lady of Holy Cross Community:
The celebration of Easter is a time for each person to fulfill the ultimate dream of life -- passing over from material slavery to spiritual freedom. In the Hebrew tradition, this passing over is clearly portrayed in the Exodus story; in the Christian tradition, in the sacrifice of the Suffering Servant; and in other religious traditions, learning from masters the art of passing from darkness to enlightenment. All responsible people in the human family seek to be renewed so that they may move from: ignorance to wisdom, poverty to self sustenance, selfishness to self-giving, and ultimately, from secular to spiritual attitudes and behaviors. In a real and concrete way, the Easter holidays help all to realize humanity's dream.
In the epic poem, In Memoriam, Alfred Lord Tennyson describes the development of his spiritual life, a passage from death to life. In the poem, while mourning the loss of his friend, he describes his passing over from his early years of disbelief, in terms of immortality and spirituality, to his rediscovery of the true spirit of life, which includes eternal life. Through his grief and loss, he came to understand the passage from the material world to the spiritual world. Take some moments and reflect on Tennyson's words which amount to his profession of faith.
Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;
Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.
Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.
Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou:
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.
Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.
We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see;
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.
Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before, but vaster.
We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.
Forgive what seem’d my sin in me;
What seem’d my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.
Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.
Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.
In the Easter liturgies of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter, Christians and all witness to their faith. In essence, they celebrate a profession of faith in word and deed. Jesus, the Suffering Servant, died and rose for the salvation of the world. In Tennyson's sentiments, God's wisdom came to give humanity wisdom. During Lent, we asked that our "wild and wandering cries" would be forgiven so that we could seek truth, goodness, and wisdom which is beauty.
At Our Lady of Holy Cross College, we attempt through the educational community to celebrate the beauty of the ages by sharing in words and deeds, the accumulated wisdom given to us in theology, philosophy, arts, sciences, and professional studies. Through the efforts of dedicated faculty, staff, and friends, all servant leaders, we hope that every student who passes through the portals of the College may experience a little of Tennyson's journey from material to spiritual awareness. In a word, we are hoping that through the educational experience at the College, students will be taught ways to seek the true dream of life, the quest for a life of transformation, seeking knowledge that lasts forever. This is why we profess: "We are servant leaders who inspire our students to acknowledge their dreams."
In Jesus Christ, the world has found an ultimate witness to God's design for humanity, a true servant leader. He is a model for all who wish to live according to the Law of God. He brought a message of salvation: a world where the blind will be helped to see; the lame helped to walk; the poor helped to sustain themselves; and a world where all seek justice and peace. See how Tennyson, the poet, speaks to us today and calls us to reflect on our present age and the age to come.
Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
In these trying times, may this Easter season bring you wisdom and peace. Let us "ring out" the old and "ring in" the new.
In Our Lady of Holy Cross,
Rev. Anthony J. De Conciliis, C.S.C., Ph.D.
We are servant leaders who inspire our students to acknowledge their dreams.
Come Holy Spirit inspire your people to renew the face of the earth.