Congratulations – You have officially won the dorm lottery! Welcome to The Lakeside Estate, the paradise for the mice. We couldn’t be more excited to invite each and every one of you into our home. Many Carroll residents have a strong connection to the hall and its members, and you will find out why in just a few short months. The traditions, camaraderie, and signature events of Carroll make it an unrivaled place to reside during your college years (and certainly make it worth the walk), but you’ll soon realize it’s more than just an old, cream-bricked building. From this day forward, you are a part of this community, and we could not be happier to welcome you to it. Welcome home, Carroll ‘27.
– Danny and Andrew, 2023 Welcome Weekend Co-Chairs
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference.
And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
There were many interesting and substantial questions asked at “What’s In Styles?” on Monday. One of them went something like this: “Is there anything particular wisdom you want residents to gain while living in Carroll during your tenure as rector?” It’s an interesting question, but I balked at first.1 That being said, I did offer some things I think are important. They should sound familiar to most of you:
Making sure this is a place where a diverse group of residents can be assured that they do, in fact, belong.
Giving folks the opportunity to learn and develop their capacity for service. Service is the ground from which effective leadership springs.
Nurture within residents a capacity to say “yes” to life-defining vocational questions.
As I reflect on what started as an impromptu list, let me now add another:
Provide the context for young people to embrace a life of faith that can actually respond to contemporary life-challenges, drawing people into a nexus life-giving meaning.
That’s the serious challenge presented in this Sunday’s readings: Are you faithful or aren’t you?! Here is my version of Jesus’ words: “You don’t have to have a lot of faith; just enough to show up.” This is not an indictment of those amongst us who identify as agnostic or atheist or those who feel alienated because of any particular church teaching. Their presence only forces us all to be more reflective and thoughtful about the whys and hows of Christian living. Better yet, they are us. We are all, at least at times, agnostic, atheistic, or alienated.
What really squashes faith in our midst (and yes, I mean even in Carroll) is apathy or indifference. In other words, those who act as if nothing really matters (n.r.m.). And this, for those of us who are trying to figure out who we are and what we are all about, a n.r.m. attitude from our peers can have a powerfully demoralizing effect. Because faith is not a pleasant warm feeling; it’s an act of the will. N.r.m. is, in my opinion, the easy way out.
I don’t have to think about how I use my body, my mind, and my heart for some defining purpose. I can just do whatever comes to me, whenever it feels good to me. I don’t have to serve or sacrifice. Nothing really matters. YOLO!2
Choosing otherwise may be laudable, but cynicism blocks us from trusting that one can choose virtuousness without being ultimately motivated by money, fame, and power. Once again, we become trapped.
But the readings say otherwise: Habakkuk: Never stop telling God how you really feel. Psalm 95: never stop listening for God’s response. 2 Timothy: Do not be ashamed of faith in Christ; cowardice can only be combated by trust and courage. Luke: Have the faith to believe whatever purpose God is inviting you into is yours, come what may.
1I am uncomfortable implying that my time in Carroll is special or particularly unique. I tend to be very weary of anything that whiffs of personality cult, so branding my time as rector seems a bit egotistical. Don’t get me wrong, I have an ego, I am just weary of feeding it.
Father Mike Connors, CSC our longtime priest-in-residence returns to Sunday Eucharist after a number of academic-pastoral gigs outside Notre Dame.
Each Sunday during this “Year C”of the liturgical calendar we work (fairly) consecutively through the Gospel of Luke. Today we hear a third parable in a row, forming a kind of triptych of how Jesus asks us to reframe our moral imagination. Two thousands years of listening to Jesus (at least in theory) and this reframing still stings!
Who doesn’t want to enjoy the good life? I, too, like to eat, drink, and be merry. And attending to those who in some way have less puts a real drag on that enjoyment.
Today’s parable presses us and like the parables of Prodigal Son and the Unjust Steward: it risks offending us. All three press against our conceptions of fairness and hard work. Perhaps the rich man in today’s Gospel was unfair and earned his money through duplicity, but Jesus doesn’t tell us that; that doesn’t appear to be the point.
The above art depicts the rich man who has no name and suffering Lazarus who does, as both naked. They are both vulnerable and in God’s view creatures.
Lazarus shares a symbolic connection to Eliezer, the great Ancestor Abraham’s steward. The grace shown to him is a long time coming. But the rich man, even in his time of turmoil, can only see Lazarus as a means to his own ends, a servant even in the afterlife.
The rich man has lost a sense of his fundamental connection to all humanity. The “bosom of Abraham” represents the all encompassing embrace of the Father. To be in the bosom is to understand oneself as both subject to and beneficiary of God’s everlasting covenant. Even as he experiences torment in the netherworld, he cannot see that we are all saved together. I don’t mean we all have the exact same relationship with Jesus the savior. I do mean that our salvation is somehow wrapped up in what God is doing for and with all of us.
How do we bridge the gap between us? Solidarity is what God wants from us. And for us to see that we belong to one another we have to act as if we already do. We invite one another in; into hearts that would otherwise harden. We are all creatures before a divine reality that can never be known completely on our own. The Way of Christ can and will build a bridge over the deepest divisions.
No servant can serve two masters. S/he will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.
Father Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor, C.S.Sp., is a priest of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (The Spiritans). He is from Nigeria, has been at Notre Dame since 1999, and specializes in moral theology/Christian ethics.
He is an ideal preacher for tonight, because the readings present a rich and complex image of the moral life.
I have, as of yet, little to say.
Here is what I can say about parables and the biblical tradition: the biblical tradition is most compelling when we remember that principle, that fundamental reality which seems to be at the heart of our existence (a.k.a., whatever it is that we Christians call the Triune God) is most often found in STORY. Narrative. How do we know God is present? We reflect on story. We tell the story and look for presence. Somehow, no matter how challenging, no matter how perilous, some spark of divinity is found in every human story.
So sometimes the stories that Jesus tells, especially the parables, reveal to us some deep truth about the incoming parousia, the breaking-through of pure purpose. Those parables disrupt expectations, they turn our minds and hearts upside down and shake from them the complacent spirit of apathy with the intent of opening us up, that we might receive grace.
One of the profound pitfalls of our global, consumerist, digital culture is a strong tendency to nihilism. I don’t mean in a technical sense; we don’t have to have read Friedrich Nietszke to be nihilistic. But if we live and operate as if “everything is a joke,” we are also saying nothing matters; life is meaningless. In other words, just live for your own pleasure before death comes to get you and you die. A meaningless world is not a world worth living in. It’s not a world worth sacrificing for.
I don’t have a perfect answer to combat this strong, looming shadow that covers us. God knows we have reason to doubt placing any hope in human history and human institutions. But I will say that for me, the in-breaking of pure purpose is the primary and fundamental antidote to the affliction we might call despair. That in-breaking is ritualized and made available in the ancient (and hopefully ever-new) liturgies of the Church(es). I invite you to partake. Come and see. Don’t expect to be fixed or convinced; though, all things are possible with God. Expect that over time, you might notice the narrative of your own life becoming just a bit clearer to you. That the possibility of meaning-ful-ness might show up in your heart in a way that not only surprises, but also nourishes.
I think this one continues to apply and deserves repeating …
The reign of God is like … a shepherd seeking one lost sheep, a woman searching for a lost coin, a father with two sons.
In today’s gospel we hear Jesus respond to the doubts of others around him by sharing three parables about the kingdom or reign of God. He doesn’t use that exact phrase, but context tells us that he means to communicate something about how God desires to relate to us. I only briefly address the first two to spend most of my time on the third. All three share a common theme: God’s love defies human logic.
In the first we hear of the shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine sheep to go after the one that was lost. This makes no sense. Surely many of the others will be lost without his attention. And yet, Jesus is saying God’s desire for each of us is so strong, everything is risked for each of us.
In the second a woman with ten coins disrupts her whole life to find one coin. How can she rejoice about find such a small fraction of her wealth?
In the third parable we here what for many is a familiar story. A father with two sons, allows one to disrespect him and take half his fortune only to welcome the son back “no questions asked.” The father is foolishly lavish and forgiving. The dutiful older son is brimming with resentment because the father’s love seems an affront to fairness and justice.
This father-son story may tap into various impulses among the men of Carroll Hall. Many of us may have complex, sometimes difficult relationships with father figures. Perhaps they have been ideal parents; perhaps they have left us wanting, even despairing. Most men struggle to develop a healthy and life-giving way to relate emotionally to other men. It’s often indirect, sometimes communicated through competition. Seldom is deep affection between men openly expressed. And yet the need for the acceptance, affection, and guidance of men to other men is so strong that father-son relationships can determine the whole trajectory of a young man’s personal development.
The parable reveals more about a hoped relationship between each of us and God the Father and is less about biological and social fathers. And yet we cannot ignore the connection. Our listlessness and despairing attitudes, our hopes and dreams for a deep sense of unshakeable connection serves to highlight how much we need to be found. And often enough, biological and social fathers are at the impossible task of “keeping us safe from all anxiety.” The distance between these experiences only highlights what is at stake: everything.
As young men, we want it all. No matter how hard we try to hide our need for acceptance, affection, and guidance it never stops being an aching chasm of desire and incompleteness. Think of the ways in which so many of us men seek what is lost. For many of us its physicality; powerful forces like athleticism, phyiscal aggression, chasing sexual satisfaction. This is the body. By turning what is good into an idol we become slaves to adrenaline, dopamine, power. Some of us seek out knowledge and ideas as if they were shields; “if I am right, I will be alright.” This is the mind. We obey the rules as if they can save us. But they cannot. And then some of us commit to nothing at all. We can call this the heart. By never saying a resounding “Yes!” to anything great we are never able to develop that spirit and purpose we actually desperately desire.
Ultimately, only the Father can give us what we need. And by “the Father” I mean the Source of All Being. Jesus privileges “the Father” title which is there to open us up to an intimate relationship. Jesus is the Son. When we get caught in the stream of love between the Father and the Son, we are drawn into the Divine exchange. An exchange that transforms the longings of the body, mind, and heart into a whole person, fully present, fueled by hope.
If you’re reading this message, that can only mean one thing: that you have won the dorm lottery. You have been assigned to Carroll Hall, the most unique, picturesque, and handsome dorm on campus. In the coming months, you will get to see the many traditions that make the Carroll community so special. From sand volleyball games and cookouts on Carroll Lawn (that’s right, we have our own lawn) to the glorious seasonal event known as Carroll Christmas, Carroll has so much to offer. From this day forward you are a part of this community, and we could not be happier to welcome you to it. Welcome home, Carroll ‘26.
The GentleVermin collection is a set of 150 unique digital collectibles built around the Carroll Hall community. Wether you are an incoming first year, current resident or alumni, your GentleVermin is your connection to our community! In classic ‘All are most welcome here’ fashion, these are completely free – all you need to do is screenshot whichever one you like and use it however you like!
Developed by Carroll’s own Vaibhav Arora, the GentleVermin are here to provide a way for Carroll’s community to show their membership. Whether they are used for profile pictures or any other aspect, these “EFTs” (Extremely Fungible Tokens) are here for use for anyone who may feel part of our community.
Welcome to Carroll Hall! We’re so incredibly excited for you all to join our Carroll Family. Over this fall semester, we look forward to sharing our traditions, culture, and brotherhood with YOU, our newest Vermin! We might be the smallest dorm on campus, but we think you’ll find the Lakeside Estate to be a truly special place (we’re the best 100 guys!). As our motto says, “All Our Most Welcome” in Carroll Hall––especially YOU! Welcome to Carroll! We can’t wait to meet all of you!
On behalf of the men of Carroll Hall, we would like to welcome you to Carroll Hall, the Lakeside Estate. You have truly won the residence hall lottery. Carroll is home to the self-proclaimed “best 100 guys,” a term that we Ver-men take great pride in. The setting of our hall creates a deep sense of community and brotherhood unique to Carroll. For both of us, Carroll immediately became home. You have been selected to live within a community unlike any other dorm. In our completely unbiased opinion, we host two of the greatest signature events(A Carroll Christmas and Lakeside Music Festival), and have a dorm wide camaraderie that no other residence hall can match. Many of our favorite memories have come in the Carroll first floor lounge on a random weekday night just hanging out with whatever fellow vermin happen to be there, and some of our closest friendships have grown through the exaggerated “super long” walk to campus. We love all Carroll traditions, both official and unofficial, and they make bonding with fellow Vermin easy. Many of the unique features that Carroll possesses may appear as negatives from an outside perspective, but once you live here you realize they generate the perfect storm of circumstances to create something truly special.
You will learn more about what it means to be a Vermin when you arrive in August but the website should cover the basics. As you prepare to move into school in the coming weeks we know you will have plenty of questions, and you will be hearing from us in the future to answer some of those. Until then, we want to wish you a huge congratulations on finding your new home in Carroll, the 2019-20 Hall of the Year(the only ranking system that matters, all the other websites you will inevitably read are wrong). The two of us speak for all of the Carroll Hall Community when we say that we are incredibly excited to welcome you into your new home.