So you’re about to head off to college, eh? Excited? Nervous? Ready to just get started? Ready to be on your own? Ready to study what you actually want to study? Beginning the collegiate journey is a unique time in a young adult’s life, and one that I hope you’re looking forward to embarking upon. As you prepare for all the life changes that lie ahead this year, you’ve probably received oodles of advice about this and that: which classes to take, which professors to avoid, how to arrange your dorm room, where all the good study spots are, how to put yourself out there for new friendships, how to live on a budget, and so on. But if you’re looking to ditch your prayer life and forsake the religion you’ve grown up with, I’m here to give you all the details and insight about five ways you can lose your Catholic Faith in college.
1. Stop Going to Mass
The easiest way to lose your Faith is to separate yourself from the Lord in the Eucharist. If you aren’t consistently going to Mass every Sunday, listening to the Scriptures, hearing the encouragement and passion from the priest, finding support and unity in the congregation, and receiving Jesus in the Sacrament, then it’s really simple to fall away from Him. The voice of the culture and world will steadily drown out the voice of God, and becoming deaf to Him happens almost automatically. If you’re looking to lose your Faith in college, don’t make Sunday Mass a priority. Just sleep in.
2. Try to Please Everyone
Of utmost importance when trying to fit in in college is to change yourself constantly in order to try to please every person you meet. Take on a different set of characteristics, beliefs, and attitudes just to look cool in front of whichever crowd you find yourself a part of that night. Abandon all former non-negotiables, principles, and personality traits in favor of embracing relativism, personal inconsistency, and whatever it takes to get you accepted by everyone. Most importantly, do not surround yourself with other faithful young adults. Do not seek friends who accept you for who you truly are, who encourage you in your faith and studies, with whom you have legitimate fun, and who help you grow closer to God. That’s counterproductive.
3. Look Out for Number One
Adopt the mindset that you are the most important person in the world. After all, you’re in college to pursue your education, to exercise your freedom, and to do what you want, right? So don’t make anyone else a priority. Do not be attentive to the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual needs of your roommate, classmates, friends, or anyone else. Don’t go out of your way to do anything nice for anyone, especially if there’s nothing in it for you. Don’t comfort the sorrowing, forsake being patient with others, and forget forgiveness. And certainly do not volunteer your time and energy at any sort of humanitarian or religious outreaches like soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, after school mentor programs, or homeless shelters. It’s all about you, baby.
4. Don’t Ask Questions
If there arises in your mind any question or doubt about the Catholic faith, do not look for answers. Don’t run it by your parents, parish pastor, or anyone else you see as a mentor and guide in your faith. Don’t seek clarity. Just keep it to yourself and conclude that if you don’t have a full understanding of a Church teaching, then it just must be wrong. Don’t engage in respectful and informative debate with anyone who questions your Faith or why you believe what you believe. Concede immediately for the sake of aforementioned #2. Afterward, do not turn to Sacred Scripture, the Catechism, or the Magisterium for any further insight or explanation. Stop reading books about Catholicism. Stop listening to CDs, radio shows, or other programs that bring light to the big issues. Stop being interested. Stop seeking the answers.
5. Leave God Out of the Equation
Finally, the swiftest way to lose the connection to your Faith. What happens when you lose touch with a friend? It’s a slow process most of the time, isn’t it? One moment, you’re hanging out and talking every single day; then maybe you stop seeing each other face to face; then, your conversations dwindle to a few polite exchanges a week; then, you only talk when you need something from your friend; and finally, you lose touch all together, and you stop thinking of that person, and it becomes as if that person doesn’t exist. It works the same way with Jesus! If you’re looking to lose your Faith in college, stop talking to Jesus. Let Him be like that friend with whom you lose contact. Let your conversations diminish. Eventually, you’ll stop talking to Him and thinking of Him all together. It will be as if He doesn’t exist. And forget that prayer stuff when it comes to making your decisions, big or small. Don’t make God a part of your plan. Don’t think of Him when deciding what to study, where to live, what to do on Friday night, who to marry, or how to navigate sensitive situations. Leave Him out of all of it.
The easiest way to lose your Faith in college is to stop wanting it, to stop fighting for it. If you don’t make Jesus a priority, He won’t be one in your life. It’s as simple as that.