Today’s theme was ZEAL. Zeal is not a word that passed through my vocabulary, or thoughts, very often until last year. When my son started high school at a Xaverian Brothers sponsored school, Mount Saint Joseph in Baltimore, I learned their five spiritual values: humility, trust, simplicity, compassion and zeal. These values are mentioned often and lived out daily at Mount St. Joe. The first four I was familiar with; but zeal was a new value to explore.

The last five themes of the ND Trail are the five values of the Congregation of Holy Cross: mind, zeal, family, heart and hope. I am ashamed to admit that I did not know the values of the CSC; but I am glad to know them now, and I am glad Mount St. Joe is so proud and forthright about sharing and teaching their values. In fact, they live and teach their values with zeal.

Fr. Malloy, Notre Dame’s 16th president, celebrated mass tonight and shared Blessed Basil Moreau’s definition of zeal as “a flame in your heart.” I like that.

Being new to the term myself, I imagine zeal as the enthusiasm the core pilgrims have as we climb on the oxcart each morning, usually before the sun is up, and greet each other with passion and smiles, encouragement and excitement for the day. I have a flame in my heart for the ND Trail and for my fellow pilgrims.