Faithful Catholic Living on Campus

Faithful Catholic Living on Campus
By Jerome Placido

As I sit in the middle of a cafe/lounge area at UC Riverside I can’t help but think of the many different types of people here.  The truth is that in college, it’s hard to be Catholic.  Not just in this institution in particular but I could argue in any.  For some it’s a young adults first taste of freedom from the cold chains of good or bad parenting.  For others it’s a new experience with a larger variety of people with different backgrounds and beliefs.  For most in higher level institutions it’s almost taboo to mention God or religion.  Catholicism especially seems looked down upon with all its “rituals and medieval thinking.”

So how do you survive?  How do we as Catholics persevere in the midsts of hostile or daunting surroundings?  My opinion?  There’s no need to stand in the middle of crowds with large signs “REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL THE END IS NEAR.”  But rather our living out our faith as Catholics, FAITHFUL Catholics, is all the sign we need.  We’ll save money on poster papers and pens.  

St. Francis of Assisi once said “Preach the Gospel and if you must, use words.”  From practicing modesty, mortifying our eyes around impurities, not taking part in immoral gatherings, to acts of kindness and charity.  Our mere actions will scream to those around us and they’ll hopefully notice and say to themselves, “somethings different about him/her.”  They’ll search for an answer and if we’re doing it right, they’ll find God and not us.  

When ever I give talks or I help in a skit my prayer is that people do not remember me afterwards but rather that they remember whatever it is God shared with them in the small moment that our lives crossed paths.  Because when people look to us, eventually they will find disappointment.  Why because we are imperfect.  When we lead those around us to God and not us, they’ll NEVER be disappointed because God cannot disappoint.

Sure there will be moments where we MUST speak out, but there are those moments where we are challenged to imitate the Blessed Mother.  Imagine her as she witnessed evil at its strongest, the greatest injustice of all time, the Crucifixion of Christ.  Yet she remained silent.  I can only imagine what those around her thought and the strength it took to do so.

So Pray the rosary as you walk through campus, smile as you pass people, help open a door for someone, be creative and offer it all to God that your actions may stand out to your neighbors as arrows pointing to the singular source of our Salvation.  We can scream to the top of our lungs about how much we love Jesus or you can save your breath and have Christ Himself breathe on them as He did on His Apostles as He gave them the Holy Spirit.