Saturday, August 28, 2010
Off to University?
I have recently thought of the question on how to survive college and not only keep the Catholic faith, but to grow in it. This is a very important question as countless Catholics enter into the secular or at best conservative colleges and universities in North America each year.
The majority of Catholics today do not think enough about the moral implication of current university and college life, or are just simply not aware of the circumstances in most universities and colleges. Traditional Catholics are most likely made aware and are better prepared, yet they are the very small minority. So what about the rest of the world? What kind of advice if any can be directed toward them? Whether they are aware of the dangers or not, they are going. So is there hope for the Catholic entering into the University or College life? Given some guidance and much prayer, we have to hope.
University and college campuses are a haven of moral relativism and vice. It is a place of freedom, liberation and acceptance, at least in the narrow sense from parental guidance and supervision. Real freedom is only found in the truth, not in false ideologies and relativism. In terms of acceptance, anyone is bound to find someone of similar interest and is most likely not to be segregated the same way one can be in high school. Sexual immorality, immaturity, drunkenness and idleness are common marks of college life today. The Remnant has an excellent article that serves as a good aid in preparing to enter into university or college here:
So what to do? How does one prepare for the battle! How does one put on the armour of Christ as St. Paul teaches in Ephesians 6:10-18
"Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord, and in the might of his power. Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and power, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Therefore take unto you the armour of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of justice, And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: In all things taking the shield of faith, wherewith you may be able to extinguish all the fiery darts of the most wicked one. And take unto you the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God)."
Here are a list of guidelines that I have come up with that I believe are necessary to survive College and University. These guidelines apply whether you are attending a well known party school, or a more well known Catholic university such as the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
1. Establish home base: Find the local Catholic parishes, Newman Center, or Catholic Chaplaincy. Warning! The next step will be to determine whether or not they are acceptable?? Do they teach relativism, or heresy? If the Traditional Latin Mass is not available, do they have a reverent alternative? At best one may only be able to find a conservative parish and or priest. You need to know where you are going to Mass every Sunday (your bare minimum obligation) and on weekdays. If one has not already done so, making the practice of confession a regular habit – every week or two (or as soon as possible when fallen into a state of mortal sin) - will aid against the moral slide that countless students fall into.
2. Equip your dorm room (or off campus room). Place a crucifix (blessed) on your wall. Have a priest come over to bless the room. (Who knows what went on in your very room over the previous years.) It is very important to have the room cleansed (blessed by a priest). You will be spending around 40% of your college life in your room.
3. Pack your weapon! The Rosary is a sacramental weapon against evil. Have one available in your room and one on you at all times. The daily recitation of the Rosary is mandatory in the battle against evil, and in the acquisition of virtue.
4. Holy Water. Have a bottle in your room and use it liberally.
5. Good books. Besides your textbooks, a Good Bible, a Catechism (Baltimore Catechism 3, Trent, etc), and good spiritual reading such as books on the Saints should occupy your bookshelf.
The more time and effort you take to prepare from the get go, the better you will be 4 years down the road on graduation day. Don’t forget this is your soul we are talking about, and your time at university or college will determine so much more than just your career.