By Rev. Joseph G. Mueller, S.J., associate professor of theology and rector of the Marquette University Jesuit Community
Late August at Marquette can find many of us harried. Teachers hope that the waning hours of summer will allow them to finish those syllabi and class preparations. Staff put the last beautifying touches on campus; prepare residences, apartments, and programs for incoming students; try to make the final progress on administrative initiatives before the busyness of the semester takes increasing amounts of their time and energy. The parents of young ones among us attend to dozens of details and to the rising stress or excitement of growing hearts nearing the new school year.
On top of the usual tension, recent news leaves many of us with anxious or concerned questions about the challenges and headwinds facing our university and of our particular part of it. In this season we want to be at our best, although we can find it hard to do so. But at least we know that we are not alone, that we want to find from others on campus the patient respect that we are trying, however imperfectly, to show them day in and day out, despite our differences or dysfunctions.
We do well — at day’s beginning or end, or at moments throughout our work hours — to search for contact with our center of tranquility and confidence. Many of us will try to focus on God’s generous action and presence in the obviously good or clearly difficult events of our day. Others of us can take a deep breath to recall the basic and bottom reason why we work at our jobs or professions here.
In such moments we can find a source of peace and strength.
If we pause regularly to look for the heart of our whole life, we will eventually catch ourselves finding it, and we will see it reflected in how we work with each other. Amid hubbub and worry, this is the heart of the Marquette that we are.