Last night I had the chance to attend my little brother’s Baccalaureate ceremony, one of his many graduation events this week, and perhaps one of the most important. For those of you who don’t know what Baccalaureate is, here is how the all-knowing Wikipedia describes it:
A baccalaureate service (or, baccalaureate Mass in the case of institutions affiliated with the Catholic Church and its religious institutes) is a celebration which honors a graduating senior class. The event is typically a Christianity-based interdenominational service.
So basically, graduating seniors in high school come together, Christian speakers and students give little talks, music is sung, and overall a beautiful tradition is kept alive through volunteer’s hard work and students dedication to God.
I listened to the speakers talk about their faith life and I started to think about what I have learned about keeping my faith in my 2 years of college. And I thought about some things I wish I would have known before I set foot onto one of the least religion fearing and least religion tolerant place: American Universities.
Growing up Catholic I had heard that people didn’t like Catholics, it wasn’t until I got to college I started learning people really didn’t like Catholics. It was the first time I truly felt like a minority. I remember one girl saying to me something like “You surprise me as a Catholic because you are so happy and faithful.” Hmmm, I didn’t know that being unhappy was a Catholic stereotype, I grew up with plenty of happy, fun and cheerful Catholics…glad I could break that stereotype! That was just one instance where I learned what non-Catholics thought about “us”.
I learned very quickly that I was going to have to fight for my faith like never before. I don’t mean fight other people, I mean I had to fight the pressure of the culture to stop attending weekly mass like so many of my friends have. I had to fight for my relationship with God to remain a priority, even during finals week! I came into college knowing that keeping my faith was important to me, but I had no idea what the battlefield had (and has) in store.
For the class of 2015, I want to give you a heads up that you will have to fight for your faith on your campus. This is because we live in a politically correct world where no one is correct, except that one guy who says that no one is correct. That my friends, is moral relativism which is defined as “the view that moral judgments are true or false only relative to some particular standpoint and that no standpoint is uniquely privileged over all others.” Moral relativism means that there is no truth, and that is the truth. See the problem there? It’s a contradiction to its core and has a faulty foundation.
College is a great time for you to find the one truth. You have time out from under your parent’s supervision to look into your faith and find out why you believe what you believe. You get to make the faith your parents gave to you truly yours. Take the time to make God a priority in your college life, find a church that you love going to! Get involved with campus organizations like your campus Newman center, or FOCUS, or Young Life. Just find a group of people who will support you in your journey and fight to find the one truth.
Like one brave student said last night, “there will always be storms and there will always be rainbows on the other side.” Remember that as you go through college where there will be many storms, but God will fight for you and with you and He will always have a rainbow waiting for you on the other side.
Congrats Class of 2015!
Stand tall for your faith
Dream big! Live courageously! And Thrive!