One of the graduates of our local Catholic high school told the story of her freshman orientation class at college. “The teacher told us in the first session that his job was to dismantle and disprove our Christian faith. He said we could not get a proper education until the blinkers and bias of our Christian notions were demolished.”
She’s not the only one. Our college aged students are often subjected to attacks on their faith, and if they do not have the tools to answer those questions their Catholic faith will be undermined and often destroyed. Apologetics courses and books are an aid in helping students bolster their faith. A noteworthy book is DisOrientation How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind. With a bevy of able contributors, the book is upbeat, readable and perfect for explaining and countering the corruption that comes with the relativistic, secular philosophies which can be overwhelming to college students.
Realizing the need for such books I recently turned my hand to writing a book that would help Catholics understand the prevalent trends that undermine the Catholic faith. As this is often a problem in college, I set the story in Bowelbages University in the depths of hell, and the professor is the demon Slubgrip. To add entertainment value the university is for demons who are “intellectually challenged” and while he bullies and badgers his students the demon Slubgrip is also plotting with his old friend Knobswart to overthrow the college administration and take over.
Why take this approach? Because philosophy and theology ought to be fun as well as challenging. At the beginning of Screwtape Letters C.S.Lewis quoted Martin Luther and St Thomas More, reminding the reader that the Devil was a proud spirit and hated be ridiculed. Lewis mocked the old deceiver brilliantly in Screwtape Letters and the mockery continues in Slubgrip Instructs.
Whether they realize it or not, college students are on the front line of the battle and sharp books of apologetics and spiritual instruction can be the weapons they need to bolster their own faith and give answer to those who would challenge them. While the battle is fierce and the warfare long, there is not need to be long faced about it.
The great spiritual warriors like St Therese, St Teresa of Avila, St John Vianney and Padre Pio all waded into battle with a cheerful spirit, a spring in their step and laughter on their lips. So in our own trials, tribulations and temptations we need to maintain a joyful spirit. As we do we reveal the spiritual genius of the Catholic faith. No other religion has the quality of inexpressible joy that true Catholicism radiates. If joy is not part of your faith then it is not a full faith yet. Because Christ has won the victory the devil is already defeated. We should therefore be down to earth, but we should also be up to mirth.
Lent is the time for spiritual battle, so in these weeks leading up to the holy season of Lent, dust off that broad brimmed hat, strap on the armor, sharpen your weapons, cleanse your heart and mind and prepare for spiritual battle.