Everyone’s faith journey is different. For some, having faith starts at a young age. Their Catholic faith was instilled by loved ones and solidified by weekly Mass attendance and Holy Sacraments. For others, faith appeared at a prominent and critical time in his or her life. Whatever the case, there’s one thing everyone has in common – everyone has had their faith tested.
My faith was tested during my college years. I was born into a Catholic family, and I grew up socializing at youth group, participating in pro-life rallies and spending time with Jesus on Sundays. This was the norm until I moved away for school. Then it became a choice. It was now my responsibility to maintain my faith.
Even though it was challenging, I graduated with my Catholic faith still on fire for God’s everlasting love. So for those who are currently or will be attending a liberal university, here’s five tips for making it out with your faith still intact.
1. Attend Mass Every Single Week
I know this seems blatantly obvious, but college is going to be full of alternatives, and sometimes you may be tempted to skip out on that quiet time with Jesus to hang out with your friends or catch up on homework. Just remember, your stress levels will decrease significantly if you offer it up to Him every Sunday.
2. Don’t Forget About Confession
Young adulthood is a time for mistakes, but more importantly it’s about learning from those mistakes. It’s a time for self-discovery, and while self-discovery is critical it may lead to poor decision making. Due to the surplus of temptation, it’s crucial that, in addition to attending weekly Mass, you make the time to wipe your slate clean at Reconciliation.
3. Surround yourself with like-hearted people
Notice I used the term “like-hearted” rather than “like-minded.” Colleges yield a diverse set of individuals who do not possess similar morals and beliefs. Getting mixed up in the wrong crowd will poison your spirit and lead you further away from your goal of becoming a follower of Christ. It may take time, but selecting positive influences for friends will prove beneficial.
4. Save/Make Time for Daily Prayer
College students are busy people. Most students, in addition to saddling classes, have extracurricular activities and part-time jobs. Finding time for daily prayer can be challenging, but once I realized how calm I felt after a five-minute conversation with Jesus it became a habit. Sometimes students are moving so fast, they forget to slow down and take a breather every once in a while – let Jesus be a part of that breather.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Dig Deeper
I will never stop learning about the Catholic faith, there is always something new to be discovered. During this time of self-discovery, make it a time for learning more about your faith. Get involved with a youth group or local church or attend a Catholic conference. There are infinite resources for absorbing information on this amazing religion we call Catholicism.