As a Catholic college student, it is easy to be tempted to despair at times when one sees the state of their college campus. The culture of college seems to grow more self-indulgent and harmful as the semesters pass. Partying, drinking, and the distorted culture of sex lead young people to turn away from God’s infinite love with each passing weekend. To not involve oneself in this culture is, of course, healthy for our souls as we strive to grow nearer to God and be involved in His Church. But we are also called to spread the Word to the masses.
This is where the fear of failure can lead us to never begin. While it is understood that we are assigned with the mission of evangelization, it can be difficult to grasp the way in which to do so, especially when we are inundated with the culture of sin all around us.
How to Be a Light on Your College Campus
So how do we teach others to retreat from evil and run to the infinite love and mercy of our Lord? In my time as a college student, I’ve already learned a few key points.
1. College is the Perfect Place for Evangelization
It is important to note that evangelization never happens in a setting that does not desperately need the light of Christ within it. The Word of God needs to be heard in the darkest places. We need to reach those who have cut God out of their lives.
Historically, evangelists have been most needed when the world was at its darkest. It was during these times that the impact of the Church was imprinted so heavily on the world that we received converts in the masses fleeing home and striving for Heaven.
Therefore, a college campus is the perfect place for evangelization to take place. In my case, I have a strong student center of young Catholic people who I can relate to and hang out with, which provides me with the company and support I need to spread the Word to other people on campus.
2. Do Not Give Up
The temptation to despair when you feel you have not been a good evangelist can wear on us at times. Fear not, however, because sometimes it may be the smallest thing we do that brings someone closer to being open to the Faith.
I have seen it in my friends, family, and people I barely know. Humans are inherently attracted to the light of Christ’s love. The seed of love for Christ rests within all of us from the moment we were created by Him. It is the fear that the enemy puts in their hearts that drives these people away.
Deep down, all of our hearts were made to love our Creator with an infinite and burning love, stronger than any other. This type of love is called Agape, which translates from the original Greek to mean “the love of God for man and of man for God.” This love is reserved for our Lord and we all desire to love in this way. When our driving force is Christ’s love, evangelization succeeds.
3. The Plan of Action
It is important to put oneself in the space of the people who we are trying to evangelize. We cannot impact the lives of others if we are not involved in their lives. We must be willing to give of ourselves to the people that need to hear God’s message.
Now, this does not mean we need to be best friends with everyone we meet. But with the few people in our lives who we want to reach at the moment, it is important to invest in them. This could mean inviting them to daily Mass, Bible study, Confession, Adoration, or even just an event at the Catholic student center on campus. It could be something as small as asking them to pray with you before you eat in the dining hall or getting coffee with them and learning about their questions and issues with the Faith.
These little things will show them that you care about their soul and what they are going through. It also assures them that you are interested in their point of view and what opinions they hold.
We are All Called to Evangelize
It does not matter what location we are in within our lives, difficulties in evangelization will always arise. It is the perseverance and focus on God that will ultimately lead to successful evangelists and fishers of men. As Pope Francis prayed:
Lord, teach us to step outside ourselves. Teach us to go out into the streets and manifest Your love.
I’d love to hear from fellow college students. How do you share the love of Christ on your campus? What challenges do you face when it comes to living your Faith at college?
Lizzie Wenberg is currently a freshman at Kansas State University studying graphic design. Her goal is to spread the love of Christ to everyone around her. You can find out more about her here.