Listers, with an increasingly hostile and secular society, Catholics find themselves each day becoming more countercultural. Young people with a sincere heart who wish to follow Christ and keep the commands of Holy Mother Church, will find that living a true Catholic lifestyle can be difficult and lonely in a culture that no longer upholds Christendom.

College campuses are no doubt breeding grounds for the secular culture. Literally. Even students who find themselves at a Catholic university will face challenges to their faith. So how does one save his soul while at college surrounded by a culture that abuses drugs, sex, contraception, abortion, alcohol and has little faith?

 

1. A Liberal Arts Education

If you find yourself enrolled in college, you probably want to get an education. Resist the temptation to pursue degrees aimed at finding a job. Yes, a job is important and good, but college is a time to “build walls, not to keep people in, but to keep the world out.” [1] It is a time to contemplate the higher things of life, your place in the world and your eternal end. Do not become obsessed with grades, internships and job searches. “Keep the world out” and take advantage of the only opportunity to contemplate the essential questions of life without the pressures of the working world. Furthermore, resist all temptations to enroll in easy courses with laid-back professors.

A liberal arts education is meant to be challenging and intellectually stimulating. Find professors who do not merely “teach” their students or talk at them, but rather ones who engage in a dialogue with students. Socrates, the greatest teacher in Western history, never gave lengthy lectures. He instead pondered questions with those around him and helped to guide his students along the way. Once you discover professors who engage the best that has been written and taught in the West, stick with them, regardless of what classes they teach. One cannot live the faith sincerely without first learning it. There is no better way of unlocking the rich intellectual tradition of the Church than by studying the liberal arts. A great way to find out how to learn while in college is to read Another Sort of Learning by Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.

 

2. Community

Friendships matter. Indeed the Philosopher devotes two books to the importance of friendship. [2] It is imperative to find a community of friends who live out the Catholic faith. These communities will help support and foster both faith and virtue. A good place to start at a non-Catholic school would be the Newman Center. Organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughters of America, Daughters of Isabella, FOCUS and other faith-based groups are a great place to find friendship. Additionally, get involved with service projects even if they are sponsored by a secular organization. Finding friends and providing a witness to Christ through works of mercy is a rewarding experience for all involved. Finally, do not limit yourself to groups within the university. Many religious orders and dioceses run young adult ministries across the country. And if you can’t find any groups, start one yourself!

 

3. Attend Daily Mass & Frequent Confession

The Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life”[3] and there is no greater way to grow in faith and grace than feeding on the Bread of Life. Daily Mass will become a center point for your college life and will order your day toward God. For many people, college was the only opportunity to attend to attend daily Mass and holy hour without the interference and stress of work life. Finally, go often to confession and keep your soul clean and fervent.

 

4. Prayer, Devotionals and Confraternities

Prayer is our weapon and shield against the Evil One. It is our link to God. Look to the Gospel and find Jesus going out often to pray. We must follow our Savior and do the same. I encourage you to enroll in spiritual confraternities such as the Angelic Warfare Confraternity, Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary and practice devotionals such as True Devotion to Mary. Most of all grow in love of our Blessed Mother who will always lead us to her Son. Mary is the surest path to Jesus. Pray the Rosary daily.

 

Listers, college is a time to either find God and belong more deeply to Him, or, to turn away from the faith and adopt the currents of the world. Hold firm to these four points. Pope Francis urges the young to “swim against the tide.”[4] Keep in mind that the temptations and trails will never leave. As G.K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”

May Mary our Mother, intercede on our behalf and lead us to her Son all the days of our life.

St. Thomas Aquinas, patron of students, pray for us!

 

Louis Cona Profile

Louis Cona is an undergraduate at Georgetown University studying Government and Philosophy. He serves and coordinates the Traditional Latin Mass on campus and is an active member of the Georgetown Knights of Columbus.

 

 

 

 

[1] James V. Schall, S.J. – Georgetown Voice

[2] Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1324

[4] Pope Francis, April 28th, 2013 Confirmation Mass for Young People: CNA.