I thought it would be a fun blog post to talk about what it is like being born and raised catholic and what it is like being a catholic in college and in general. I love my Catholic faith it is one of the most important things to me and has gotten me through every bad and good time in my life. All my views are backed by my faith and if Catholicism was a personality trait, I feel like it would be one of my top ones.
Being Born and Raised Catholic
Believe it or not being raised Catholic doesn’t force the child into Catholicism. It instead exposes the child to a faith at a young age and then they can determine to follow it or not when they are old enough to make decisions for themselves. I was baptized at 5 months old in the Catholic Church. Did I know what was going on? Definitely not. Baptism is the washing away of our sins and make us new in Christ and helps save us. In second grade I made my First Communion. I was finally able to receive the body and blood of Christ. In second grade did I truly understand the concept of that being the actual body and blood of christ? No, I was like “I’m drinking wine hehe.”Freshman year of high school was when I finally chose God for myself. In deciding to make my Confirmation at the age of 14. It was my choice, no one else’s and it was one of the best days of my life and I will never forget it. I just remember being so nervous and having a huge smile on my face and excitement that I couldn’t contain, being that I was receiving the holy spirt into my life. I made my Confirmation at the most perfect time, because the next four years of my life would be the most crazy years ever and looking back, I wouldn’t have chosen God like I did if I waited another year. Yes, often times at church I would get bored out of my mind when I was younger and wonder why I was even there. Sometimes it did feel like it was a chore, but that’s because I was too young to make my faith my own and understand the faith I was being taught. If I wasn’t raised in my faith I wouldn’t be where I am today. I wouldn’t have chosen God when I did. I am so thankful for parents that made me go to church every weekend and a mom that has such a deep love and longing for a relationship with Christ and has truly taught me to strive for holiness.
Being Catholic in High School
High school was the hardest and worst 4 years of my life. I struggled to keep my friends, I was consumed by insecurities, I was always sick with something, and the first 2 years I struggled to make good grades and find my place. I really struggled with friends throughout all high school. I grew apart from many of my friends. Yet, I continued to go to church all of high school and I really enjoyed going to Lifeteen and all the events. My faith is what kept me going through high school. But junior year I started to fall away from Lifeteen, I started to feel unwelcome at Lifeteen because I was one of the only people who didn’t get to be a faith sharer for Confirmation. It really upset me because I thought they made a wrong decision. But as that year carried on it started to make sense why I didn’t make it. It wasn’t in God’s plan for my life that year. I was super busy in studying for my SAT and ACT. Also my faith just wasn’t there yet, I needed to grow more. That year I spent so much time in prayer, prayer became my number one priority and my faith grew so much. Sometimes not getting something you wanted for so long is a lesson you don’t want to learn but have to because it helps you grow as a person. I think taking a year off of lifeteen and focusing on who I needed to be really helped me, understand how I needed to grow into a better Catholic. Then senior year was my favorite year of them all when it came to my faith. I grew in such deep relationship with some of my best friends, some that I still talk to all the time. I made faith sharer senior year and it made everything in the year before it worth it. Even though there was many bumps in the road during high school, I wouldn’t change anything because it was all part of God’s plan and my life now is better than I could even imagine. So just remember no matter what is going on in your life stay strong in your faith because God will never fail you, trust in him, and your life will transform before your eyes.
Being Catholic is College
College is literally the best thing ever and I love and miss the Catholic Student Center so much! The people at my college are truly amazing and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else. I have grown so much in my faith and have learned so much about my faith I never knew in high school. I started to live as the Catholic I always dreamed of being. I stopped judging people and started to see everyone for who God created them to be. I made mistakes like everyone else and they knew them and they still welcomed me with open arms. They stilled loved me for who God created me to be. The friendships I have made in college are different than high school the people are different and the environment is different. I love college so much because it is everything I have needed and better than I could ever imagine. You see all these people striving for the same goal as you. Wanting to be holy. The thing I love most is witnessing other people in their strive for holiness. By the people at college I have been truly inspired to live my faith each and everyday. When I mess up not to give up, but to pick myself up, walk to confession and start over again. Because God will forgive you every time you mess up, you just have to sincerely ask. In college you will be tempted, you will sin and you will definitely make mistakes. Does that make you a bad Catholic? Definitely not. I will say this time and time again. Sin doesn’t make you unholy or a bad Catholic, what makes you unholy is the desire to not try. The desire to not continue to strive for holiness when you mess up. To give up because you don’t feel like you will ever be good enough. Yet, God knows we are human, and technically speaking, we will never be good enough for God’s love. But he doesn’t want perfection he just want us to strive for him. He will love you no matter what you do because his love is not dependent on our actions. It’s dependent on the fact that he created us because he loves us. Just like everyone at the Catholic Student Center we know God loves us and so we strive for him.
Being Catholic in General
I think oftentimes it is hard being Catholic. When people find out you are Catholic oftentimes they already think they know you. One of my favorite quotes is “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”– Mahatma Gandhi. This quote speaks volumes. Why don’t we as Christians/Catholics live the bible we were raised on? If I can speak for myself, at times I was scared. I was so scared to testify to my faith, I was so scared to live my faith out especially in high school. I wasn’t always the nicest to everyone and I didn’t see people how Christ saw them. I judged them for things they couldn’t change and I wasn’t striving to be holy or be a better person. I bet I hurt other’s with my words and didn’t even know it. I would gossip all the time because it was the “cool thing” to do. But that is not who I am or who I want to be and now I know better. All of that left me empty and after being someone who was gossiped about, it hurts a lot. But I deserved it because I wasn’t being the friend or Catholic my mom raised me to be. All I have to say if you are going to wear a cross around your neck, or anything that is a symbol of faith, treat other’s how God would treat them. Don’t be a hypocrite, because people being hypocritical is what got us Christians in a mold, none of us want to be in. If you make a mistake, own up to it. If you hurt someone, apologize. None of us are perfect, but if we start to live more like Christ this world will be a better place. If we strive to love everyone as Jesus has loved us, imagine how much better this world would be. I challenge both you and me to put God first, other’s second and yourself third and let’s see how how much our life’s radically change.