By Christa Romano
When people learn that I am an active member in Branches Catholic Campus Ministry, they are shocked and taken aback. After that string of awkward faces surface, many people become skeptical of why I would choose to partake in something that is deemed as socially “non-empirical” and much less “uncool.”
According to the popular stereotype, living out a life of faith means missing out on a true college experience; we don’t drink, go out or hook up with random people. I can’t even begin to tell you the number of times I hear people comment on members of ministry as having “no fun.” Far too many believe that we live a life out of fear because we were brought up this way. Contrary to popular typecasts, we do not hibernate in prayer 24/7 or sit in a circle singing “Kumbaya.”
Speaking on behalf of the members of campus ministry, living a life of faith is something that we all choose to do on our own. We believe that God enriches our life, not restricts it. We are all “normal” college students. We frequently visit Toad’s Place, Aunchie’s, Dick’s and Bar. We travel the world. We are involved in Greek Life. We are members of athletic teams. We are contributing members of multiple campus clubs and activities. We enjoy a quality beer and we love a good dance. We live our lives to the fullest knowing that God is indeed on our side.
God has given us these opportunities and this life to live. We embrace college just the same as every other student. I guess it’s all just a matter of perspective. We are involved and enjoy many of the same aspects of college as everyone else because of our faith, not in spite of it. Our faith guides our daily actions and motivates us to strive to live lives that are meaningful socially, intellectually and spiritually. We keep God at the center of our world so as to ground us and guide us.
A close friend of mine, Travis Moran, summed up this concept quite eloquently: “We choose to live out our faith, because we have been given the grace to recognize that all the joy, fulfillment, and meaning that we search for in life is found in our Catholic faith precisely because it is based upon a loving relationship with Christ.”
We are actively called to share our faith with others in the manner that we live our lives. Do we slip up at times? Of course we do. After all, we are only human. But, because of our faith, we are reassured that if we continue to keep God in the center we will indeed lead meaningful lives despite our flaws.
Why is it that a 21-year-old college student would ever choose to partake in ministry and live a life of faith when the world around them constantly feeds them messages not to? Living with God means that you’re living with something greater than yourself, which makes this experience we call life all the more memorable.