Advice for a Young Catholic Man on Choosing a College
You may go to a school that gives good Christian formation, but if you live in what was formerly known as the West, you are immersed outside of your school in a toxic waste dump of a “culture.”
Dear John Paul:
Some good friends asked me to give you some advice about how you can be both a well-formed and informed young man as you grow out of adolescence into manhood This is a big challenge indeed, because even though, John Paul, you may go to a school that gives good Christian formation, if you live in what was formerly known as the West, you are immersed outside of your school (though hopefully not in your family) in a toxic waste dump of a “culture.” Since I am addressing you one to one, let me give you some advice.
First, talk to your history, English literature, and religion teachers at school (assuming they are serious Catholics) and ask them for a sizeable list of books accessible to you and in their specialty that can help you over time to become a well-formed Catholic secure in his faith and capable of both defending and spreading the Faith and Western culture to your friends in college and eventually to your own family. Obviously, know (and live!) your Faith the best you can, but you also should gradually grow in your knowledge of quality literature, art, music, and cinema. These will refine your taste and help you to sort out the garbage from the exquisite from a Christian point of view.
Second, ask some adults you trust and admire to recommend reliable magazines, journals and websites that can provide you with a sound and intelligent viewpoint on contemporary issues from a faithful Catholic perspective.
Third, watch as little television as humanly possible, avoid video games, and simply don’t ever “surf” the net. Along with your intellectual interests, there is a world outside of exploring nature, the joys of physical exercise, and sport, all in the context of your many strong male friendships. Always have a book or two at your side, preferably classics of Western (our culture) literature or world history, beginning with the United States and then turning to what was once Christian Europe.
If for one reason or other you choose a public university (ugh) or a private non-Catholic college, make sure that there is a solid Newman Club on campus where you can find formation, sacramental life, and fellowship. You may already have a spiritual relationship with a Catholic institution and you might try to choose a college where they have a presence to continue receiving that invaluable help. Whatever you do, NEVER stay in a co-ed dormitory. Nothing good happens there.
Oh, and yes, do find some time for daily prayer, spiritual reading, and weekly sacramental life as you complete your high school years. The Holy Spirit is a sure Truth Finder! A good spiritual fitness trainer can help you there. Hope all this helps; if you have any further questions, just mail me.
Robert Kenefick is an occasional writer from the Washington D.C. area
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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